Funeral set for Edward Everette Talbert, sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack

Edward Everette Talbert is almost home.

The remains of the Navy seaman first class from Albemarle were identified last August by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency after nearly 80 years of being unaccounted for.

A funeral with military rites for Talbert is set for 11 a.m. March 26 at Prospect Baptist Church. Community members, especially veterans, are invited to this celebration of life.

The remains of Edward Talbert, above, will be back home next week more than 80 years after his death.

Talbert, who is credited as being the first casualty of war from Stanly County during World War II, was 19 and assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941.

The battleship suffered multiple torpedo strikes, causing it to capsize and killing 429 crewmen, including Talbert.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the crew, which were then interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu cemeteries.

During September 1947, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries. They were then transferred to the central identification laboratory at Schofield Barracks.

The laboratory staff members were able to identify 35 men from the USS Oklahoma. The AGRS then 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 Talbert.

New London resident Michael Crisco, who is the oldest living next of kin to Talbert, said last year that he received a call from the Navy in 2013 to begin the process of identification. Crisco and his sister, Linda Hollis, submitted DNA swabs to help with the process.

In 2015, the DPAA received authorization to exhume unknown remains associated with the USS Oklahoma and reexamine them using advances in forensic technology. Talbert’s remains were disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory. Further analysis led to the identification of Talbert’s remains.

Crisco was notified in 2020 of the positive identification.

Now, on March 26, what would have been his 100th birthday, the life and service of Edward Everette Talbert will be celebrated by his family, community and service members.