1916 was an important year for one Maine family for a couple of reasons.

Stanley Willis Allen was born on July 17, 1916, in Bethel, Maine.  His family calls Brunswick, Maine, home.

Also, in May of 1916, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the U.S.S. Oklahoma was commissioned for duty.  It was one of two high-tech battleships recently launched by the Navy, designed to run on oil instead of coal.

How these two worlds collided is a tragedy.

Stanley Allen enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1940 and quickly moved up to the rank of Ensign A-V(N), a naval aviation officer originally stationed at the U.S. Naval Reserve Station in Boston, Massachusetts.  Eventually, Allen was assigned as a naval aviator for the observation planes on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, then stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Ensign Stanley Allen/Naval History and Heritage Command/Bupers NPC
Ensign Stanley Allen/Naval History and Heritage Command/Bupers NPC

There were two Curtiss SOC Seagull float planes on each battleship, used for observation and "scouting gunfire from the ship's main batteries", according to a Navy press release.

Naval History and Heritage Command/Bupers NPC
Naval History and Heritage Command/Bupers NPC

Unfortunately, while on duty at Pearl Harbor on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, Stanley Allen was unaccounted for following the bombing of the U.S. harbor on December 7, 1941.  He was 25 years old.

Now, fast forward to 2015 when the U.S. Navy began Project Oklahoma, the disinterment process using DNA, dental, and medical records to identify those lost on that fateful day.  Since 2015, the military has been able to identify 356 service people out of 388 souls on the USS Oklahoma.

Naval History and Heritage Command
Rescue teams work on the hull of the USS Oklahoma, looking for survivors.  Naval History and Heritage Command

Finally, Ensign Stanley Allen arrived home in Brunswick, Maine, and was buried on July 18, 2023 (one day after his birthday) at the Central Maine Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, where his family can pay homage to his legacy.

If you're in the area, stop by to posthumously thank this naval aviator for his service, as he's finally been laid to rest and his family has closure.

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Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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