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171018-O-IW468-480.JPG Photo By: Elizabeth Fraser

Oct 19, 2017
2017 October 18 - ARLINGTON, Virginia - Marines from the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. (8th and I); "The President's Own" United States Marine Band; and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon participate in the full honors funeral of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Walter G. Critchley in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Oct. 18, 2017. In November 1943, Critchley was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. A battle lasted several days in which approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 wounded. Critchley died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Initially, after the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. Service Members were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island (but Critchley’s remains were not recovered). On Feb. 10, 1949, a military review board declared Critchley’s remains non-recoverable. In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that they had discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the original battle. The remains were then turned over to DPAA in July 2015 and through laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence, Critchley’s remains were identified. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery / released)


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