Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Feds urged to recover Marines killed in WWII battle

Memorial Day is coming again and it seemed like a good time to bring this up. I am still searching for where my husband's uncle is buried. I came across this. There are many of our fallen buried in other countries and we have a feeling my husband's uncle is one of them. I know several were returned and buried at Arlington.

Friday August 17, 2001:
WWII Marines Buried at Arlington

Playing "Onward! Christian Soldiers,'' the Marine Band marched Friday along the twisting paths of Arlington National Cemetery to the open grave sites of 13 World War II Marines whose remains had lain nearly 60 years in a mass grave on a South Pacific battlefield.

The full honors ceremony marked the homecoming of 2nd Raider Battalion Marines killed during a 1942 raid on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

The battalion destroyed most of its target, a Japanese seaplane base. But, hurriedly departing under fire from hostile aircraft, they were unable to carry away their dead.

read more here


It would be a great thing to bring them all home or at least find out where they are.

Feds urged to recover Marines killed in WWII battle
From wire service reports
Posted: 09/15/2009 10:26:27 PM PDT

U.S. Marines hunker down for protection against fierce Japanese fire on the beaches of Tarawa during World War II.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday announced a plan to urge the Department of Defense to recover the bodies of hundreds of Marines killed in the World War II battle of Tarawa, left in temporary graves where they fought and died more than 65 years ago.
The unanimous vote to send a letter to Congressional representatives, seeking legislation and funding for a recovery effort, came in tandem with the presentation of an honorary scroll to Leon Cooper.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky asked the board to bestow the honor and proposed the letter.
Cooper is a veteran of the Tarawa campaign and five other Pacific battles, including Iwo Jima. His documentary, "Return to Tarawa: The Leon Cooper Story," narrated by Ed Harris, calls on the U.S. government to honor the memory of the dead who fought on Red Beach in Tarawa.
"Our government has done nothing since 1943 to recover and repatriate these brave Americans who gave their lives in defense of our freedom," Cooper stated.
During 76 hours of combat, 1,106 Marines were killed and 2,200 wounded. Of those killed, 118 were buried at sea, 88 were listed as missing in action and the remainder were buried in temporary graves.
The Department of Defense acknowledges that 25,000 to 30,000 bodies of men "missing in action" are recoverable, but fewer than 100 are brought home each year, Cooper said.

The 4th Marine Division landed on Saipan 15 June 1944. The severity of this battle was indicated by the 2,000 casualties suffered in the first two days of battle. The Flag was raised on Saipan after 25 grueling and bitter days of combat. The Division sustained 5,981 casualties killed, wounded and missing. This represented 27.6 percent of the Division's strength. The Japanese count was 23,811 known dead and 1,810 prisoners were taken.

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