Today, the DPAA announced that PFC Norman Alfred Buan, of Long Prairie, Minnesota has been accounted for. Read their press release here.
Norman was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, on 26 June 1916. His family moved to Minnesota in the mid 1920s and settled in Todd County. Little is currently known about Norman’s childhood; his father, Albert, died in 1931 and his mother, Annie, remarried a few years later. Norman grew up surrounded by four siblings and two half siblings. He left school after the eighth grade, and at the time of the 1940 census was living on his own and working as a farmer.
Buan joined the Marine Corps in November, 1942, and completed boot camp at MCRD San Diego. After a few months of duty with the base service company, he was sent for additional infantry training and joined the 26th Replacement Draft. This unit was bound for the Pacific, and PFC Buan became a member of Company C, 2nd Marines in New Zealand on 10 October 1943. The last few weeks of his life were spent preparing for his first assault landing – Operation GALVANIC, known to history as the battle of Tarawa.
PFC Buan died on 20 November 1943, the first day of his first fight. No eyewitness accounts of his death are currently known, but his battalion was hit hard during the landing on Red Beach 2, and it is likely that Buan did not make if far off the beach – if indeed he made it to the beach at all.
Once the battle ended, Norman Buan’s body was carried to a burial trench close to Beach Red 2. Period records indicate that he was buried in “Grave 78, Row 2, Beach Red Cemetery #2,” or “Grave 77, Row B, Central Division Cemetery.” The location would later be known as “Cemetery 26” to the troops who exhumed the remains; try as they might, they were unable to identify PFC Buan.
The details surrounding Norman Buan’s discovery and identification are still pending.
Welcome home, PFC Buan. Semper Fi.
We are actively seeking information for PFC Buan’s profile page.
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