After 78 years, a Bloomfield sailor killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor is coming home.
Navy Seaman 1st Class Joseph K. Maule will be buried in Bloomfield on Thursday, June 20, surrounded by family, Navy officers, veterans, honor guard, American Legion Riders and many from the community. Maule, son of Anton and Ellen Maule, was just 18 years and had served in the Navy less than a year when he perished in the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
After extensive DNA testing, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced on Aug. 8, 2018 that Maule’s remains were positively identified.
Cindy Maule, who is married to Joseph’s nephew Joe Maule, said it’s a dream come true to bring Joseph’s remains back to his hometown for his burial.
“This has been a dream of my husband’s, as well as his aunts and uncles. They’ve all passed, and the nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews have all shared this same dream,” she said. “Joseph is finally coming home to Bloomfield.”
Cindy Maule said Legion Riders will escort the remains from Omaha Thursday morning. The service at the Bloomfield Cemetery will begin at 1 p.m. Joshua Maule — Joseph Maule's great-nephew — will give the eulogy. The Maule Sisters will perform three songs a cappella — “Amazing Grace,” “Anchor’s Away” and “America The Beautiful.”
The public is encouraged to not only attend the memorial service, but to also line the streets with flags to pay respect to Maule as he is escorted into Bloomfield. The route and time will be announced at a later date.
“We hope to see many people from Bloomfield and the area honoring Joseph,” Cindy Maule said. “It’s such a wonderful thing for Joseph to be coming home to Bloomfield.”
Maule was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Maule.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.
In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.
The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Maule.
Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma unknown remains from the Punchbowl for analysis.
To identify Maule’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.