Identify Remains or Not? Honoring The Fallen

May 09, 2015

Disclaimer: This list is NOT all inclusive. US Special Operations have dozens of firearms at their disposal. This list is just a sampling and is arranged in NO particular order.

     FN SCAR

The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) is a modular rifle made by FN Herstal (FNH) for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to satisfy the requirements of the SCAR competition. This family of rifles consist of two main types. The SCAR-L, for "light", is chambered in the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge and the SCAR-H, for "heavy", fires 7.62×51mm NATO. Both are available in Long Barrel and Close Quarters Combat variants.

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

Pictured Above: FN MK 20 MOD 0 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR)
  • 5.56×45mm NATO(SCAR-L)
  • 7.62×51mm NATO(SCAR-H)
Action Gas-operated (short-stroke gas piston), rotating bolt
Rate of fire 625 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity
  • SCAR-L: 2,870 ft/s (870 m/s) (M855)
  • SCAR-L: 2,630 ft/s (800 m/s) (Mk 262)
  • SCAR-H: 2,342 ft/s (714 m/s) (M80)
Effective firing range
  • SCAR-L: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 500 m (550 yd) (Standard), 600 m (660 yd) (Long)
  • SCAR-H: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 600 m (660 yd) (Standard), 800 m (870 yd) (Long)
Feed system
  • SCAR-L: STANAG box magazine
  • SCAR-H/SSR: 20-round box magazine
Sights Iron sights or various optics



 Words By Mike Weisbecker, USAF Ret.

7 December 1941 saw a lot of death and destruction upon our naval base at Pearl Harbor.  None more so than the battleship USS Oklahoma.  Hit by three torpedoes, she eventually capsized, her masts digging into the harbor floor and exposing her keel.  Many of the survivors scrambled onto surrounding ships to continue the fight.  Three Medals of Honor, three Navy and Marine Corps medals, and one Navy Cross were awarded to Oklahoma crewmen from events on that day.  The first chaplain to perish in action in that war was one of the ship’s chaplains. 


429 Sailors and Marines of the ship’s compliment perished that day trapped in the capsized ship.  Only 36 were positively identified.  The remaining 393 are buried in comingled graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (known as the Punchbowl).  It is the single largest burial of unknowns at the cemetery.

Fast forward to the present.  Many family members of the unidentified crewmembers want to have the bodies exhumed to have DNA tests performed upon them.  Even 70 plus years later the families want closure.


The remains in some cases took years to be removed from the capsized ship.  Salvage didn’t begin in earnest until July of 1942.  Salvage crews and divers recovered some in the actions to prepare the ship to be righted and refloated but most were recovered once the ship was in dry-dock.  Then the remains were buried at different cemeteries until exhumed right after the war in an attempt to identify them.  After this attempt the remains were once again interned at the Punchbowl. 

Some argue that the crew has been together and should stay together.  What if some can’t be identified?  Would the identified crewmen want to be with their shipmates in death?   The survivors of the USS Arizona are allowed to have their cremated remains interned in the ship to rejoin their shipmates in eternity.  Survivors of other ships attacked that day can have their ashes scattered near where their ships were moored that fateful day.

DOD will make a decision in the next few weeks.  Yeah there will be a cost attached to this.  But even after more than seventy years, some families want their loved ones remains identified to get some closure, to bring them home to a family plot maybe, or to have their ashes scattered over a plot of land the family called home for generations.  Not being in the situation I’m more inclined to leave them where they are, united as shipmates forever.