Long Awaited Homecomings: Tarawa Marines of Pennsylvania

published 16 May 2018

Words and photographs by guest contributor Dean Laubach.

Photographer and Marine Corps researcher Dean Laubach assists several NGOs and non-profits dedicated to preserving the history of the Corps in World War II. These include 5th Marine Division Association and the US Marine Raider Association.

It has been the honor of my life to work alongside those involved in the recovery of our MIA Marines from Tarawa. For more than 70 years, these men lay in unmarked or unknown graves – until the Department of Defense, assisted by dedicated non-profit organizations, brought them home to their families.


Among those Marines were four young men from Pennsylvania.

I attended their funerals – one in the Marine’s hometown of Scranton, and three at the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery – and captured the images below. These brave heroes gave up their youth so that I might live mine.


Gunnery Sergeant Sidney Asa Cook

E/2/8th Marines • Killed In Action 20 November 1943 • Buried 16 September 2017


PFC Harold Patrick Hannon

E/2/8th Marines • Killed In Action 20 November 1943 • Buried 13 January 2018


PFC Manuel Menendez

K/3/2nd Marines • Killed In Action 20 November 1943 • Buried 22 March 2018


Corporal John Vincent McNichol

E/2/8th Marines • Killed In Action 21 November 1943 • Buried 14 May 2018


All photographs are copyrighted material, and are published by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced without the express permission of Dean Laubach. Contact Dean