The Navy's 1941 burial records noted one body, burned and floating in the harbor, was found wearing shorts with the name "Livingston." Only two men named Livingston were assigned to Pearl Harbor at the time, and one of the two was accounted for. Emory suspected the body was the other Livingston.
Government forensic scientists exhumed him. Dental records, a skeletal analysis and circumstantial evidence confirmed Emory's suspicions. The remains belonged to Alfred Livingston, a 23-year-old fireman first class assigned to the USS Oklahoma.
Livingston's nephew, Ken Livingston, said his uncle and his father were raised together by their grandmother and attended the same one-room schoolhouse. They grew up working on farms in and around Worthington, Ind. Livingston remembers his dad saying the brothers took turns wearing a pair of shoes they shared.
When the family learned Alfred was found, they brought him home from Hawaii to be buried in the same cemetery where his grandmother and mother rest.
About a third of the town showed up for his 2007 memorial service in Worthington, a town of just 1,400 about 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The local American Legion put up a sign welcoming home "Worthington's missing son."
"It brought a lot of closure," said Ken Livingston, 62, his voice cracking.
John Lewis, a retired Navy captain who worked with Emory while assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command between 2001 and 2004, said the command is fortunate someone like Emory has the time and initiative to painstakingly connect the dots on the unknowns.
"Without Ray Emory I don't know if this ever would have been done," Lewis said from Flowood, Miss.
Emory says people sometimes ask him why he's spending so much time on events from 70 years ago. He tells them to talk to the relatives to see if they want the unknowns identified.
He doesn't get emotional about the work, except when the government doesn't exhume people he thinks should be dug up and identified.
"I get more emotional when they don't do something," he said.
He'll keep working after he's formally recognized during the Pearl Harbor ceremony today to remember and honor the dead. He has names of 100 more men buried at Punchbowl he believes are identifiable.