About Operation 85

– A Family Effort to Identify 85 Unknowns from the U.S.S. Arizona – 
In an inspiring testament to the power of determination, four volunteers, along with thousands of family members and supporters are defying the odds to correct a historic oversight, proving that a small group’s unwavering commitment can honor 85 American heroes, bridging decades of uncertainty with patriotic justice.

– We are The U.S.S. Arizona “Operation 85”


Kevin Kline Operation 85

Kevin D. Kline
Executive Director

Email: kkline@ussarizona.navy

Kevin Kline, who is the grandnephew of a U.S.S. Arizona sailor killed and never recovered during the attack on Pearl Harbor, never set out to be working in the field of genealogy and history research. He and his wife Elizabeth have owned and operated a real estate sales and investment company based in Fairfax County, Virginia since 2015. Through their collaborative efforts, the  LIST WITH ELIZABETH® brand has propelled Elizabeth Ann Kline as one of the industry’s most successful real estate professionals.

Before venturing into real estate with his wife, Kevin had a 12-year career in the music and entertainment industry, working in Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles. He is a BMI songwriter with over 50 published songs and has contributed to more than 20 albums, performing with notable acts like Ben Folds Five, Kool & the Gang, Chicago, Kenny Rogers and many others. Additionally, Kevin was a Voting Member of the GRAMMY’S for 16 years and also served as an elected council member in Prince Georges County, MD. His public service work notably benefited the Morningside Maryland Volunteer Fire Department.

Kevin became aware of the unknowns from the U.S.S. Arizona after taking his family on a recent trip to Hawaii.  Always believing that the entire missing crew’s final resting place was within the sunken ship and under the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, he was taken back when he discovered that 85 or more were removed, never identified and buried 10 miles away in commingled graves marked unknown. He was even more upset that the government had no plans to ever identify them.

In April of 2023, Kevin, launched “Operation 85” in an effort to locate other surviving family of the crew and solicit their DNA Family Reference Sample to the US Navy & US Marine Corps Casualty Offices in an effort to identify 85 unknowns from the U.S.S. Arizona.  What was expected to be only a 3-4 month ordeal, and to highlight an obvious government oversight, has turned into a full-time battle with bureaucracy, now heading into its first full year. When the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) failed to do their job, Kevin stepped in to right the wrong.  Kevin & his wife Elizabeth have fully funded the entire cost of the mission so far. Kevin has committed to work until the DPAA finally agrees to step up to its national commitment of accouting for and identifying all missing and unknown Americans, and finish what he has begun; the hard work to identify 85 unknown American Heroes from the U.S.S. Arizona BB39 buried in commingled graves. 

Watch the April 6, 2023 Commencement Address

John Hardy

John Hardy
Chief Research Analyst
Email: jhardy@ussarizona.navy

John Hardy, a key member whose expertise and dedication have significantly advanced Operation 85’s mission since joining in May of 2023. John’s strategic acumen and deep personal connection to the project make his contributions invaluable. With over 25 years in genealogical research, John has elevated OP85’s forensic genealogy investigations, providing insights that have been crucial to our progress.

Before joining “Operation 85,” John honed his expertise in risk management as the Chief Operating Officer at Wright Risk Management in Long Island, NY, and played a pivotal role in the World Trade Center Insurance Task Force post-9/11. He now serves as a senior leader at Gramercy Risk Management, showcasing his analytical skills and strategic thinking.

John’s involvement with “Operation 85” is deeply personal. As a former U.S. Navy member with a father who served in Pearl Harbor’s Submarine Service during WW2, he brings a unique perspective and dedication to our cause. As the Chief Research Analyst John applies his meticulous attention to detail to our investigations.

Moreover, John acts as a family-member liaison, establishing personal connections with the families of the U.S.S. Arizona’s crew. This role, which he describes as a “lucky task,” is crucial for maintaining open communication with families, updating them on our progress and understanding their expectations.

John Hardy’s blend of professional expertise, personal connection, and unwavering dedication significantly impact the “Operation 85” project. As we continue our work to provide answers to the families of the U.S.S. Arizona’s crew, John’s contributions are a testament to commitment and respect for our mission.

Meline Lutz Byrne

Melinde Lutz Byrne
Chief Forensic Genealogist

Melinde Lutz Byrne has joined the U.S.S. Arizona “Operation 85” project, bringing unparalleled expertise in genealogy and forensic identification to our mission. Byrne, a distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, founded and directed the Genealogical Research Certificate Program at Boston University, graduating over 5,000 students. Her transition to forensic genealogy led her to establish the Forensic Genealogy Division at Bode Technology, where she tackled numerous human identification cases, including military remains from the Korean conflict and WWII.

Byrne’s academic contributions are as profound as her practical achievements. She has authored over forty books and many peer-reviewed articles, significantly influencing genealogical scholarship. She edited several genealogical journals, including a co-editorship at the National Genealogical Quarterly, advocating for the ethical use of DNA evidence.

Joining “Operation 85” in June as Chief DNA Genealogist, Byrne quickly made her mark by reorganizing the research team and streamlining processes for documentation essential for Navy and Marines identifications. Her representation of the U.S.S. Arizona’s unknowns at a critical meeting with the DPAA, Navy, Marines, Pentagon, and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System underscored her pivotal role in our ongoing efforts.

Melinde Lutz Byrne embodies the spirit of connection and hope for families awaiting closure. Her addition to our team significantly boosts our mission’s success, ensuring we continue to honor the memory of the U.S.S. Arizona’s brave souls with the dignity and precision they deserve.

Daniel Abel

Danny Abell
Deputy Research Analyst

Daniel “Danny” Abell, a distinguished high school history teacher from Chesterfield County, Virginia, joined the “Operation 85” team in May, bringing a unique blend of passion for education and dedication to veteran research. Awarded “Teacher of the Year” for the 2022/2023 school year, Danny has been recognized for his remarkable ability to inspire and educate young minds, as noted in a Midlo Scoop Article.

Beyond the classroom, Danny has dedicated over two decades to honoring military veterans, starting with personal letters to every living Medal of Honor recipient. The profound responses he received fueled his commitment to genealogical research, leading him to volunteer with numerous Memorial Organizations. This work has made him a pivotal figure in connecting and providing closure to military families. Danny, along with his wife Trina, an elementary school teacher, and their daughters, Riley and Emma, finds joy and support in his family life amidst his research endeavors.

Danny’s expertise and passion have been transformative since he joined “Operation 85.” Both Kevin Kline, the Executive Director, and Chief Research Analyst John Hardy have lauded his impact on the project. His meticulous research and dedication have accelerated our mission’s progress, significantly increasing the number of family members reached. This achievement has not only bolstered our engagement with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the Navy, and Marines but also elevated the project’s profile and effectiveness.

Danny Abell’s contributions underscore the essential human element of our mission, linking the past with the present and ensuring the heroes who served are remembered and honored. His dedication exemplifies the profound effect one individual can have on a collective endeavor, providing both names and closure to the families of those who served.


24/7 National Residential
Real Estate Team!

This National Real Estate Team Fully Funds Operation 85

LIST WITH ELIZABETH® has fully funded all physical and operational costs associated with “Operation 85” totaling nearly $60,000 so far.  LIST WITH ELIZABETH® is capable of servicing and/or referring residential real estate transactions to all 50 states. If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in the Good ole’ US of A, please consider giving Elizabeth a call first, and allow her to serve you personally or refer you to one of her national partner agents.  We would greatly appreciate your support!

Elizabeth Ann Kline – LIST WITH ELIZABETH®
Certified Military Relocation Professional
Certified Pricing Strategy Advisor

703-829-LIST (5478)
email: elizabeth@listwithelizabeth.com 


The PHP Team has helped us with Outreach & Awareness

Pacific Historic Parks is the leading organization supporting significant historical sites in the Pacific for future generations. Through education, interpretive programs, research, preservation, and restoration, we work to perpetuate the memory of events and honor the people involved in these Pacific historic locations.

The mission of Pacific historic Parks is to support the USS Arizona Memorial and other Pacific historic locations through education and interpretive programs, research, preservation, and restoration, to perpetuate the memory of events and honor the people involved in these sites.

Pacific Historic Parks has been the #1 supporter with outreach, media, promotion and awareness for “Operation 85”. 

Visit them online at www.PacificHistoricParks.org


Passing the Torch to the Next Generation of U.S.S. Arizona Family Members

As we get further and further away from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, there is a chance that information and knowledge of family history from the U.S.S. Arizona and the attack on Pearl Harbor may get lost with each dying generation.  It’s important to pass on your family history and instill the importance of those that served, and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.  The U.S.S. Arizona’s “Operation 85” Founder and Executive Director Kevin Kline, takes time at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial to pass a torch to his two young daughters, honoring their fallen uncle GM2c Robert Kline at a flag raising ceremony on the Arizona Memorial in August 2022.

Operation 85: The Rediscovery and Return of a WWII Sailor’s Letter

In a stirring video presentation, the tale of S1c Norman Kenneth Iversen’s letter to his girlfriend, Edis Higgins, unfolds like a poignant chapter from history. 

The letter, a relic of World War II, was discovered years after Edis’s passing by her daughter, igniting a quest driven by respect and nostalgia.

“Operation 85” was contacted at the request of the daughter by a US Navy Recruiter in California to ask if we happened to know anyone from Norman’s family and could we return the letter to the Iversen family.