December 7 marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This is a day that elicits strong emotions in the United States as citizens remember those who died in the bombing. As with most historical events, there are little-known facts that are related to this tragedy. One of them is pretty major as it involves siblings who lost their lives together. There were 77 men who were confirmed to be 37 pairs or trios of brothers aboard the USS Arizona. It was reported that only 15 of them survived and 62 of these brave soldiers lost their lives that day.

In this number were 23 sets of brothers who perished. Reports from Rant Now and STL Today contributed facts for this article.

Only one full set of brothers survived the bombing

Of the 77 men who were identified as siblings on the USS Arizona, there was only one full set of brothers to survive on December 7, 1941. These were Russell and Kenneth Warriner. Russell was wounded but survived the attack while Kenneth just happened to be attending flight school in San Diego. There was also only one father and son team, Thomas Agusta Free and William Thomas Free who were aboard the ship. Both of them died when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

More than half of the 1,177 casualties on December 7 were aboard the USS Arizona.

The Japanese bombers hit the navy battleship four times and eventually sunk it. To some 62 men out of more than 1,000 that died may not seem like a big deal. Considering, however, the families who had to bury multiple loved ones who died together makes the death of 23 sets of brothers very significant indeed.

Making service a family affair

It was common for family members to serve together on the same ship prior to World War II. After so many siblings lost their lives when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States began discouraging the practice. Because no official regulations were put into place, hundreds of brothers had fought and died together by the time the war had ended. The most famous being the five Sullivan siblings of Waterloo IA.

When they heard that a friend, Bill Ball, had died on the USS Arizona the Sullivans decided to enlist under one condition. They desired to make it a family affair and requested to be assigned to the same ship. In November of 1942, the brothers died when their ship the USS Juneau went down in the Solomon Islands. A movie of their life entitled "The Fighting Sullivans" was made in 1944. As you observe the 76 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor keep in mind that some Americans had multiple men in their families to die on December 7.