Major news from Hawaii last night: the DPAA has begun the process of exhuming the remains of 94 servicemen killed in the battle of Tarawa.
Unlike History Flight’s recent discoveries on Betio itself, these 94 are much closer to home. Located by Army graves registration personnel in the late 1940s, each man was subsequently labeled “unidentifiable” after efforts in the field failed to disclose their identities. They were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (the “Punchbowl”) under stones marked “Unknown.”
Yesterday, the first of the 94 was disinterred and transported to the DPAA’s lab – where, hopefully, the first of 94 new identifications will be made, and the first of 94 families will have the remains of their soldier, sailor, or Marine returned after more than seven decades.
No formal news release on this yet, but the DPAA Facebook page has some photos of the event.