By Lorra B.
After 72 years the bodies of 36 unidentified US Marines killed during the Second World War are returning to America.
It was in Japan and on the island chain of Tarawa that one of the bloodiest battles claimed more than 6000 lives, 1000 of which were US Marine lives.
The 36 remains “were recovered by a group called History Flight and were flown to Pearl Harbour where a ceremony was carried out yesterday to mark their repatriation,” according to Daily Mail.
It is the plan of the Marines to return the remains to their families once they have been identified. The identification process has been started by History Flight and completing this process will be done by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, bringing closure to so many military families.
According to Military.com, there are approximately 520 US troops still unaccounted for from this battle. “More than 990 U.S. Marines and 30 sailors died during the three-day Battle of Tarawa in 1943. Japanese machine gun fire killed scores of Marines when their boats got stuck on the reef at low tide during the U.S. amphibious assault. Americans who made it to the beach faced brutal hand-to-hand combat.”
There were 1,200 slave Korean manual workers on the island of Tarawa and only 129 survived. Of the 3,500 Japanese troops only 17 made it out alive.
The discovery of the remains was pleasing to Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commandant of the Marines Corps. “This battle demonstrated the indomitable fighting spirit of our Marines. It was also the first contested landing against a heavily fortified enemy, and a turning point in the development in our amphibious capability. The lessons learned at Tarawa paved the way for our success in the Pacific campaign and eventual end to the war.”
After 72 years being away, welcome home brave Marines.