This map shows the last known address for every Marine or Naval corpsman who lost his life at Tarawa, or died as a result of wounds suffered there.
Click on the image to view the interactive map.
Nearly every state is represented here; even communities in Alaska and Puerto Rico were affected by the battle. One can see the impact the casualty lists would have had on individual cities, neighborhoods, and in some cases single streets.
The addresses here are based on the multi-volume “Combat Connected Naval Casualties World War II: By States” which was originally compiled and published in 1946. An important notice is printed in each volume, and bears repeating here:
“Inclusion of names in these State groups has been determined solely by the residence of next of kin at the time of notification of the last wartime casualty status. This listing does not necessarily represent the State or birth, legal residence, or official State credit according to service enlistment…. This is a State summary taken from casualty lists released by the Navy Department, corrected as to the most recent casualty status and recorded residence of next of kin.”
In some cases, the original addresses no longer exist – buildings have been torn down, rural communities have been abandoned, small towns have expanded, villages have been incorporated into larger cities. Some Marines listed a Post Office box, a main route, or a “General Delivery” notification instead of a street address. In these instances, markers have been placed as close to the modern equivalent as possible.
Two men, William D. Martinez and James O’Hara appear on the casualty lists I consulted, but I was unable to identify their units or home addresses. Their markers are placed on Betio.
The markers here will be updated with additional pictures and information as I have time. If you have a contribution, please contact me at email@example.com.
Please also take a moment to visit the sites listed in the sources below. Without the hard work of these individuals and communities, our understanding of this terrible battle would be nowhere near what it is today. And if you are related to a Tarawa casualty with a black “MIA/BNR” marker, please contact the Chief Rick Stone & Family Charitable Foundation at once. They are actively seeking new information to help with identification efforts.
Ancestry.com. World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
WWII Memorial Registry
Chief Rick Stone & Family Charitable Foundation (noted with black borders)