Recovery Stories

A flag is presented to the family of a VMB-423 crewmember, killed in 1943. The ceremony took place in October, 2012. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The efforts of government agencies, private companies, and individuals has considerably decreased the number of Americans listed as Missing in Action from the Second World War. Notable instances include the discovery of the remains of Marine Raiders killed in action on Makin, and the current efforts to identify the nameless dead on Tarawa. The process, while at times painfully slow, is part of the promise made to American warriors – that they will come home, no matter what.

This page contains the stories of Marines who, in recent years, have finally returned home.

Of course the war ended, but growing up without my father left me with a great loss and many unanswered questions. Then we were notified that my Dad’s aircraft wreckage and crew skeletal remains were found on November 16, 1956 in the area he was reported missing. Although individual identification was impossible, it was confirmed that the remains were of Dad and his crew. A group burial with full military honors was held at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado on July 15, 1957. My Dad and his crew trained together, were deployed overseas together, flew combat missions together, died together, and will rest in eternal peace together….

Words that mean so much to me and give me some comfort were noted by Dad’s surviving fellow pilots when they found out that my Dad and crew were finally laid to rest: “The book on VMB 611 can now be closed . . . All planes are in.”

David L. Fish, son of Captain Doit Fish, VMB-611


Note: Recently, the Defense Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Office (DPMO) has made an effort to update their list of the missing. The individuals on this page were either recovered since this website’s founding (December 7, 2011) or were listed MIA on that date. Although they have been repatriated and their cases closed, their stories are told here to underscore the good work done by recovery teams, and the importance of their continued efforts.


One Day Along The Matanikau

The Seventh Marines on Guadalcanal
1942 – 1970 – still on duty

Lyman’s Hero

Manley Winkley
F/2/2nd Marines
1943 – 2013

Seahorse Marines

Laverne Lallathin, Dale Eckstam, Walter Vincent Jr., James Sisney,
Wayne Erickson, John Yeager, John Donovan
1944 – 2012

Amsterdam Sniper

Ralph H. St. Clair
D/2/29th Marines
1945 – 1956

Lost On Sugar Loaf

Maurice J. LaPlante
D/2/29th Marines
1945 – 1956

6 Replies to “Recovery Stories”

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