Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 13, 2015

Tarawa Marine Returns Home 72 Years After the Battle

By Sgt. Erik Estrada U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

HONOLULU - Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency performed a dignified transfer of remains, Nov. 12, 2015, for Cpl. Roger K. Nielson, a Marine killed during the WWII Battle of Tarawa.

The Battle of Tarawa took place Nov. 20 1943 on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll, and lasted until Nov. 23. More than 18,000 Marines were sent to capture the island, but coral reefs around the island caused difficulties for Marines during their initial amphibious assault.

Over three days of intense fighting, more than 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 wounded. Nielson, a Denver native assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division was reported killed in action on the first day of battle. 

Cpl. Nielson was recovered June of this year when History Flight, a privately owned organization working in cooperation with the DPAA, discovered a long-lost burial trench on Betio where the remains of what is believed to be 36 Marines from the battle were found. Amongst those remains was Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., the first of the 36 to be identified and transferred to his hometown of Knoxvillle, Tennessee. Pfc James P. Reilly, was the second Marine sent home, to his hometown of Bushnell, Florida.

Now Nielson has been identified by scientists at DPAA laboratories through dental comparisons that matched, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. 

GySgt. Franklin Rivas, a Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 453 and Nielson’s escort, is humbled to take the World War II Marine home.

“I feel honored to have been chosen to do this duty,” Rivas said. “Also the timing of the escort really hits my heart, because I’m escorting a veteran from World War II back home.”

Cpl. Nielson will now be returned to his family in Denver, where he will be buried Nov. 16, with full military honors.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
324,680
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...