U.S. Navy Sailor, Killed at Pearl Harbor, Laid to Rest at Arlington

By Kevin M. Hymel, Historian on 11/22/2022

At the funeral service for Seaman Edward Eugene "Bud" Casinger on November 19, 2022, Chaplain (Lt.) Dirk Robinson spoke about the tragic sinking of the battleship USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. "The USS Oklahoma was moored at Ford Island on that fateful day when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese navy," said Chaplain Robinson. "The USS Oklahoma was hit by multiple torpedoes, which caused it to capsize, resulting in the loss of 429 lives." Casinger, only 21 years old at the time, was one of those lost in the attack.

Chaplain Robinson provided some background on Casinger, who served as a Fireman 2nd Class on the battleship. "Bud, oldest of three kids, had two sisters who loved and adored him," said Robinson. "He was known as well-liked and fun to be around." He added that Casinger played sports in high school and, after graduating, enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Robinson then directed his comments to the small gathering of family and friends: "Let us remember his service to our nation and to all those who perished on that fateful day."

When Casinger’s remains were recovered from the battleship, they initially could not be identified and were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. In 2015, the remains were reexamined by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Robert Corley, Casinger's nephew, learned about the effort to identify USS Oklahoma members in 2016, while staying overnight in Hanoi, Vietnam. "I sat next to a gentleman who was somehow associated to that project [DPAA] and we began to talk," said Corley. "So I told him about my uncle and he connected me with someone to contact."

At the funeral service, Corley admitted that he did not know much about his uncle’s service, since his mother was only 14 when her brother was killed. "It was sadness when the Navy came up around the table when I was young," he said.

Other family members at the funeral service included Navy Commander Sean Wolfe, Casinger's great nephew, who sat with his son Conner (Casinger’s great-great nephew), a cadet senior master sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol. Commander Wolfe explained that his great uncle had some influence in choosing to serve in the Navy. "He was one of several in that generation in my family that served," he said. “My grandfather was in the Navy and my other grandfather was in the Marines. I had a lot of sea-service influences."

Robert Corley appreciated his uncle's service and the tradition of service in his own extended family. When the funeral service ended, he stood and faced the group as he held the folded flag handed to him by Rear Admiral John Menoni, assistant deputy chief of naval operations, plans and strategy.

Corley then asked for Conner Wolfe to join him. As the young cadet stood next to his great uncle, Corley handed him the flag. He told his great nephew, "I just thought it would be appropriate to pass this flag on to you, so that it weaves into two generations of service." When later asked what receiving the flag meant to him, Wolfe simply said, "It was such an honor."

Contract Historian
Kevin M. Hymel