A Belated Homecoming for Missing U.S. Marines
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Thread: A Belated Homecoming for Missing U.S. Marines

  1. #1
    Tiller of Soil MaskRider's Avatar
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    A Belated Homecoming for Missing U.S. Marines

    While researching another matter related to Betio Island I ran across this interesting article about Clay Bonnyman Evans who, in association with a private non-profit organization called History Flight, went to Betio Island (Tarawa Atoll) and located the remains of his grandfather, 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.. Lt. Bonnymanwas killed on Betio and later awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor.

    What I found surprising about this article, and the article in no way makes a issue of this, but it kind of jumps out at you nevertheless, is the rather wham-bam-thank-you-man fashion in which the remains of so many Marines at Betio were hastily buried in mass graves and simply left behind- unremarked, unmarked, paved over...forgotten.

    A Belated Homecoming for Missing U.S. Marines

    Cheers,
    MR
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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Chris,
    More than an interesting article, what comes out in this piece for me is the ease with which service personnel can fall through the cracks of inadequate processes. Having died for their country, and more importantly for a cause worthy of their sacrifice, these marines should have had their location well marked and well documented. This wasn't like the Western Front in WW1, where burial locations became lost in hotly contested ground. Failure to keep track of these men shows a deeply disrespectful process and a lack of respect for those families to whom they never returned.
    Thanks for pointing to this memorable article.

  3. #3
    Tiller of Soil MaskRider's Avatar
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    Failure to keep track of these men shows a deeply disrespectful process and a lack of respect for those families to whom they never returned.
    Totally agree.
    MR
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    Tiller of Soil MaskRider's Avatar
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    The following article appeared in yesterdays (27 June 2019) San Diego Union Tribune reprinted from AP

    Graves of WWII servicemen found
    Remains of Marines, sailors found on remote Tarawa atoll

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    HONOLULU
    A nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts has found what officials believe are the graves of more than 30 Marines and sailors killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

    A team working on the remote Pacific atoll of Tarawa found the graves in March, said Mark Noah, president of History Flight.

    The remains are believed to belong to Marines and sailors from the 6th Marine Regiment killed during the last night of the three-day Battle of Tarawa.

    The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency expects to pick up the remains and fly them to Hawaii next month, said Dr. John Byrd, director of the agency’s laboratories. Military forensic anthropologists will then work to identify them using dental records, DNA and other clues.

    More than 990 Marines and 30 sailors were killed in the 1943 Battle of Tarawa, after the U.S. launched an amphibious assault on the small island about 2,300 miles southwest of Honolulu.

    Marines and sailors quickly encountered Japanese machine-gun fire when their boats got stuck on the reef at low tide. Americans who made it to the beach faced brutal hand-to-hand combat.

    The U.S. military buried its men in makeshift cemeteries where they fell. But Navy construction battalion sailors removed markers for these graves when they hurriedly built runways and other infrastructure to help U.S. forces push farther west across the Pacific toward Japan.

    Tarawa is now part of the Republic of Kiribati.
    MR
    "The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised."

    - George Will


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