“Left Behind”: Foundation member CAStone’s copyrighted photograph of a missing Marine’s helmet at a burial site under excavation on Tarawa
The Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation has created this portion of our web site in humble thanks and appreciation for the families and friends of the following American servicemen and women who have generously donated to our Foundation.
Only with your support have our Foundation’s efforts to locate, recover and identify lost American heroes and to provide information to their families been possible.
THE CASE OF TECHNICAL SERGEANT HARRY ARNOLD “BUD” CARLSEN, USMC
Technical Sergeant Harry Arnold “Bud” Carlsen was born in Brookfield, Illinois and joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves fifteen days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the 2nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, 2nd Marines and his mechanical skills with the new Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT’s) soon earned him rapid promotions. On 20 November 1943, TSGT Carlsen reached shore on Tarawa’s Red Beach 2 aboard one of his LVTs. He was cut down attempting to attack a Japanese machine gun emplacement and buried several days later in Cemetery 33 on Tarawa. When all the burial sites on Tarawa were exhumed in 1946, TSGT Carlsen’s remains could not be identified and he was buried as an “Unknown” in the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii. His case as an “Unresolved” casualty or MIA sat in limbo for the next 65 years.
In 2011, Chief Rick Stone, as a member of the Department of Defense, began investigating all of the “Unknowns” from the Battle of Tarawa using the “Random Incident Correlation System” (RISC) that he had developed during his career as a Dallas Police Commander.
On 26 March 2012, Chief Stone submitted an official report which listed TSGT Carlsen as a “Most Likely Match” to Unknown X-82. In a series of meetings inside the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), Chief Stone advocated repeatedly for TSGT Carlsen’s recovery and identification without success, even appealing to the JPAC commanding general for TSGT Carlsen’s immediate recovery. In response, the JPAC Lab Director insisted that Chief Stone was wrong and that Unknown X-82 couldn’t be TSGT Carlsen because “voodoo science” was used in the case investigation and the other voodoo science Chief Stone suggested to identify TSGT Carlsen’s remains (DNA) was, well, just plain “voodoo”.
After Chief Stone left the Department of Defense, TSGT Carlsen’s family contacted the Foundation in 2012 and requested a comprehensive Family Report on Bud’s case. The family also contacted their congressman who requested a copy of Chief Stone’s JPAC investigation. In an article in the Chicago Tribune on 20 October 2013, Chief Stone is quoted as saying: “I’d bet my house, your house and every house down the block that it (X-82) is Tech. Sgt. Carlsen.”
Also included in the article: “Chief Stone said his requests to disinter X-82 and several other graves were denied. When he offered to pay out of pocket to exhume X-82, he said some JPAC officials laughed.”
With each passing year, the utilization of advanced law enforcement techniques and acquisition of sophisticated technologies convinced Chief Stone and the Foundation more and more that TSGT Carlsen was X-82. Bud’s Family Reports were updated in 2014 and 2016 to reflect the fact that TSGT Carlsen was a Most Likely Match to only one “Unknown” in the Punchbowl Cemetery: X-82.
Finally, JPAC was disbanded under a firestorm of public and congressional criticism and their replacement agency (DPAA) finally acted on Chief Stone’s recommendation and exhumed Unknown X-82 in 2017.
On 31 July 2018, TSGT Carlsen’s family was notified by the Marine Corps that Bud had been identified by DNA as Unknown X-82 from the Punchbowl Cemetery.
Additional Honored Heroes In Alphabetical Order
PFC Ault was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he married and created a professional career as a florist. Ed, as he was known to his family and friends, became a pillar of local society and the business community in Charlotte. He enlisted in the Marine Corps as a Private when he was 33 years of age. PFC Ault became a member of the Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines where he trained as a crew member on a 37 mm anti-tank gun. During the invasion of Tarawa on 20 November 1943, PFC Ault was killed by a gunshot wound to the head about 50 yards inland from Red Beach 3. PFC Ault’s body was likely buried near where he fell in battle by his company mates. In researching PFC Ault’s case for his family, the Foundation found a map with the exact location where PFC Ault was killed. However, his body remains unrecovered and unidentified. He remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
PVT Loren Monroe Baylis
Private Baylis was born in Riley, Michigan in 1894 and enlisted in the United States Army during World War I. He trained as a member of the Camp Custer Detachment, 104th Field Artillery. The photo above was taken at Camp Gordon in Atlanta, Georgia. PVT Baylis was transported overseas on board the USS America along with members of the 27th Division, 52nd Field Artillery Brigade, 104th Field Artillery arriving in Brest, France on 4 March 1918. PVT Baylis survived the war and moved to Edinburg, Texas in 1926. He died on 15 May 1971 in Harlingen, Texas at age 77.
SGT John Andrew Blankenburg
SGT Blankenburg was born in Panhandle, Texas and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941. He was a member of the 2nd Aviation Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division during the battles of Guadalcanal, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Guam, and Iwo Jima. Re-enlisting in 1948, SGT Blankenburg was assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion of the First Marine Division. He was shipped to Korea in August 1950 and participated in battles at the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon Landing, Seoul, Wonsan Landing, and Chosin Reservoir. On the cold night of 1 December 1950, SGT Blankenburg was attached to a small unit of about 15 Marines who were holding a perimeter at Hagaru-Ri when about 240 Chinese attacked. Sgt. Blankenburg was killed during the fight. His body was not recovered until 1954 when he was identified by the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory and sent home to rest with his parents and brother in Pampa, Texas.
GM3c Paul Sidney Blankenburg
Gunners Mate 3rd Class Blankenburg was born in Panhandle, Texas and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941. He served on the cruiser USS Brooklyn in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, England, and during the invasion of North Africa. The USS Monterrey was a new light aircraft carrier when Blankenburg joined her in 1943. He served on board with future President Gerald Ford and participated in strikes against Makin Island, Kavieng, New Ireland and supported the landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok. The Monterrey then conducted raids in the Carolines, Marianas, New Guinea, and the Bonin Islands. GM3c Blankenburg fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and strikes against Wake Island, the southern Philippines, and the Ryukyus. As the war drew to a close, the Monterrey supported the landings at Leyte and Mindoro in the Philippines. Ironically, after surviving World War II, Blankenburg was killed in an industrial fire in Pampa, Texas in 1954.
SGT John Terry Brackeen
SGT Brackeen stated he was born in Tipton, Oklahoma and was known as “Pat” or simply “J.T.” to his family and friends. Pat left school after the sixth grade and he later found work on a county road crew. He enlisted in the Marine Corps less than two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a member of G Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Pat fought on Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands in August 1942. During the invasion of Tarawa on 20 November 1943, SGT Brackeen was killed near Red Beach 2. SGT Brackeen’s body was not identified after the battle and he is currently one of thirteen members of his company who remain “Missing in Action.”
PhM3c Howard Pascal Brisbane
Pharmacist Mate Third Class Howard Brisbane was born in Fairfield, Alabama. He and his identical twin brother, Miles, grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana where Howard enlisted in the Navy on 19 July 1942. Trained as a Medical Corpsman, PhM3c Brisbane was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. PhM3c Brisbane was in the first wave with a liberty friend, Stanley Bowen, who he had known during training. HA1c Bowen observed PhM3c Brisbane “machine gunned” and killed. After the battle, HA1c Bowen later identified PhM3c Brisbane’s body approximately 30 yards from the water’s edge and slumped on the beach. PhM3c Brisbane’s body was recovered and buried in Grave Number 14, Cemetery 27 on Tarawa. Unfortunately, the entire cemetery was lost until 2015. PhM3c Brisbane was officially identified by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory on 2 June 2016 and he was returned home to his family for burial in Row 60, Grave Number 11645 in Arlington National Cemetery on 9 June 2017.
S1c Steve Campbell Burkhart, Jr.
S1c Burkhart was born in Nelta, Texas and enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was only 19 years of age. He was a member of Squadron VB-115. The PB4Y-1 patrol aircraft, of which he was a crew member, was shot down by the Japanese on 22 April 1944 near Truk Atoll. In 1946, a group burial site was discovered on Puluwat Island and the remains of seven individuals were recovered and temporarily buried as “Unknowns” in the U.S. Military Cemetery on Moen Island. In 1948, the seven “Unknowns” were disinterred and examined by the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. Five of the seven were identified as crew members of the PB4Y, including S1c Burkhart. S1c Burkhart was given a final resting place in Section F, Grave 491 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
PFC Lyle Ellis Charpilloz
PFC Charpilloz was born in Silverton, Oregon and enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was only 15 years of age. He was a member of F Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines during the invasion of Tarawa on 20 November 1943 when he was killed by gunshot wounds on Red Beach 3. PFC Charpilloz’ body was reportedly buried in a Division Cemetery after the battle but was not officially identified until 4 December 2017.
PVT Murphy Joseph Cole
PVT Cole was born in Reeves, Louisiana and enlisted in the U.S. Army on 6 May 1918 after service in the Louisiana National Guard. He was rushed to France as a member of the 156th Infantry Regiment where he was transferred to H Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). PVT Cole had been in his new company for only eleven days when his unit was at the spear point of an Allied attack that became known as the Second Battle of the Marne on 18 July 1918. PVT Cole was reportedly killed by German artillery fire and his body was not recovered and identified after the battle. Foundation researchers believe that PVT Cole may be one of 251 “Unknowns” buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France.
PVT William Franklin Cowart
Private Cowart was born in Reform, Alabama and grew up on a farm with his four brothers and four sisters in rural Alabama. His family and friends called him “Bunk.” After enlisting in the Marine Corps in Jackson, Mississippi in 1942 and completing basic training, Bunk was shipped to New Zealand where he was first trained to operate the 37mm anti-tank gun. In New Zealand, the 20 year old “Bunk” met and married a 17 year old New Zealand girl whose father was also a farmer. Less than two months before the invasion of Tarawa, Private Cowart was transferred to C Company, 2nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion and assigned to drive a Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT or “Amtrac”) onto Tarawa’s Red Beach 3. His Amtrac stalled while trying to climb a seawall and Private Cowart was killed by gunshot wounds trying to exit the vehicle. Private Cowart’s body was laid in the sand near the damaged vehicle but after the battle he was reported as Missing in Action. He remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
PFC Cronkhite was born in State Line, Illinois and was wounded during the Guadalcanal campaign. He was a member of A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines and left behind a fiancée when he left New Zealand to participate in the invasion of Tarawa. On 21 November 1943 when he was last seen on Red Beach 2 under heavy enemy fire. PFC Cronkhite was reported as Missing in Action after the battle. He remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
PFC John Cecil DeLellis
PFC DeLellis was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and was an Eagle Scout and a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a member of C Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines during the invasion of Tarawa. On 22 November 1943 PFC DeLellis was killed by gunshot wounds and buried in a Divisional Cemetery on Tarawa. He remains in “Unresolved” status to this day although Foundation investigations show that he was undoubtedly buried as an “Unknown” in the Punchbowl.
Seaman 1st Class Joseph Fedorchak
S1c Fedorchak was born in Olyphant, Pennsylvania. He joined the Navy in 1942 and volunteered for submarine duty. S1c Fedorchak received a “Motor Machinist Mate” rating and was briefly assigned to the USS Guardfish before transferring to the USS Triton in Brisbane, Australia. S1c Fedorchak was on his first war patrol aboard the USS Triton when it was sunk by a Japanese destroyer on 15 March 1943 while attacking an enemy convoy in the Bismark Sea. S1c Fedorchak and all the crew members of the USS Triton remain on “eternal patrol” and will never be recovered.
PFC Fox was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and was president of his high school class. He earned a “Letter of Commendation” for his service during the Guadalcanal campaign. PFC Fox was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines during the invasion of Tarawa. On 20 November 1943, PFC Fox was in a landing craft with his brother George when it was struck by enemy fire. Robert was killed by shrapnel wounds but George survived and was awarded the Silver Star for later heroism on the beach. Robert’s body has yet to be recovered and identified.
CPL Quinton Jasper Gathright
CPL Gathright was born in Navarro County, Texas and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1939 at age 18. He was a member of the famed 1st Cavalry Division at a time when they were riding horses while patrolling the Mexican border from Fort Bliss, Texas. His division was shipped to Australia in July 1943 and participated in General MacArthur’s “island hopping” campaign through the Admiralty Islands, including combat on Los Negros and Manus Island. CPL Gathright’s division landed on Leyte Island in October 1944 and participated in the campaign to liberate the Philippines. He may have been briefly captured by the Japanese. CPL Gathright survived the war and passed away in Corsicana, Texas in 1972.
SGT Edward Russell Godwin
SGT Godwin was from Smithdale, Mississippi and a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines during the invasion of Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He took over for a seriously wounded platoon leader and led his company in repelling repeated enemy attacks against their exposed position over the course of several days. For his actions, SGT Godwin was awarded the Navy Cross. SGT Godwin survived the war and passed away in California in 1980.
SGT Harold Hammett
SGT Hammett was born in Avery, Mississippi and a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines when he was last seen embarking from his amphibious tractor on Tarawa’s Red Beach 2 on 20 November 1943 under heavy enemy fire. SGT Hammett was not seen again and was reported Missing in Action on that day. SGT Hammett’s body was not identified after the battle and he officially remains in “Unresolved” status.
PFC Harold Patrick Hannon
PFC Hannon was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and was known as “Tidley” to his family and friends. On the morning of 20 November 1943, he was a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines when the amphibious tractor in which he as riding penetrated farther inland from Tarawa’s Red Beach 3 than other Marines. His unit was temporarily cut off and PFC Hannon was killed by a gunshot wound. PFC Hannon was buried at an unrecorded location on Tarawa where his remains were finally found, identified, and returned home to his family in Pennsylvania in 2017.
SGT James Joseph Hubert
SGT Hubert was born in Duluth, Minnesota and a former member of the U.S. Navy before joining the Marine Corps in 1940. He saw action during the Guadalcanal Campaign and was a member of H Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines when he was killed by a gunshot wound on Tarawa’s Red Beach 3 on 21 November 1943. SGT Hubert’s body was identified and buried in a nearby cemetery that was lost after the battle and not found until 2015. SGT Hubert was finally identified in 2016 and returned home to his family.
Seaman 1st Class Carl Spencer Johnson
Pharmacist Mate 1st Class Fred Eugene Kathan
PhM1c Kathan was born in Denver, Colorado and was attached as a Medical Corpsman to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines when the amphibious tractor in which he was riding struck an anti-boat mine just off Tarawa’s Green Beach on the evening of 21 November 1943. PhM1c Kathan’s body was recovered after the battle and buried somewhere on Tarawa. Unfortunately PhM1c Kathan has never been officially identified and he remains in “Unresolved” status.
1st Sergeant Michael Paul Konz
1st SGT Konz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Marines in 1938 and saw service in Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Panama, and American Samoa before being shipped to the South Pacific. 1st SGT Konz was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was wounded during the assault and died the next day. 1st Konz’ body was buried in an unrecorded location on Tarawa and he has yet to be identified. His case remains “Unresolved”.
Private First Class Leonard Elias Kristal
PFC Leonard Kristal was born in Brooklyn, New York . In 1942, Leonard begged his parents to sign his enlistment papers since he was only 17, still too young to be drafted, because his two older brothers were already in the service. They finally gave in and signed. Leonard joined the Marines and was trained as a mortar crew member. He was sent to American Samoa and later New Zealand. PFC Kristal was a member of Weapons Company, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was killed in action the next day and his body was recorded as buried in two specific locations on Tarawa. Sadly, PFC Kristal has yet to be identified from any recovered remains. His case remains “Unresolved.”
SGT Sam Williams McAllister, Jr.
SGT McAllister was born in San Antonio, Texas and had a paper route before joining the Marine Corps nine days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Sam saw action during the Guadalcanal Campaign and was a member of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines when he was wounded in the side while leading his company mates while attacking inland from Tarawa’s Red Beach 1 on 20 November 1943. SGT McAllister was last seen with a fellow wounded Marine on the beach awaiting evacuation to an offshore transport ship for medical treatment. A month later, SGT McAllister was recorded as being in a U.S. Naval Hospital but was never seen again. He is one of 21 Marines from the battle who are known as the “Lost Phantoms of Tarawa” after vanishing during treatment . SGT McAllister has yet to be identified from any recovered remains. His case remains “Unresolved.”
Captain Joseph Potter McLaughlin
Captain McLaughlin graduated from Missoula High School in Missoula, Montana in June 1935. He entered Montana State University and completed three years of college before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserves on 8 November 1939. Captain McLaughlin fought in the aerial defense of the Philippines Islands against Japanese assaults before being withdrawn to Victoria, Australia where he was assigned as a “test pilot” to test new or repaired aircraft as they were assembled in Australia and before they were released for combat operations. On 5 March 1942, Captain McLaughlin was assigned to a “special mission” to fly from Laverton Field (Repair Depot) southwest of Melbourne, Australia, to Canberra, Australia. LT McLaughlin was piloting a P-40E “Kittyhawk” fighter. LT McLaughlin was not seen or heard from again and he was listed as “Missing in Action”. In accordance with then existing federal law, LT McLaughlin’s status was changed to “Killed in Action” on 19 March 1943. In 2004, a search team recovered personal items from a World War II crash site in Australia which were associated with Captain McLaughlin. In a questionable case of identification by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) Laboratory, Captain Joseph McLaughlin was officially “resolved” and his alleged remains were transferred to the Arlington National Cemetery where they were buried on 10 April 2006 in Section 60, Site 749.
CPL John Vincent McNichol
CPL McNichol was born in Renovo, Pennsylvania and a former Boy Scout before joining the Marine Corps in 1941. John had just completed the 8th grade when he signed up and was probably only 16 years old. He saw action during the Guadalcanal Campaign and was a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines when he was killed by gunshot wounds on Tarawa’s Red Beach 3 on 21 November 1943. CPL McNichol’s body was identified and buried in a trench that was lost after the battle and not found until 2017. CPL McNichol has been identified and will be returned home to his family for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
SGT Clyde Clayton Mitchell
SGT Mitchell was born in Cloud Chief, Oklahoma as the son of an Oklahoma State Highway Patrolman. He joined the Marine Corps in 1939 and saw service in the Panama Canal Zone and on board a destroyer. SGT Mitchell was a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines when he landed on Tarawa’s Red Beach 3 on 20 November 1943. He was killed by a gunshot wound on the first day of battle. SGT Mitchell’s body was buried in Cemetery 28 and the Foundation discovered a photograph of his grave marker taken after the battle and a map with the location of Cemetery 28 on Tarawa. However, SGT Mitchell has yet to be recovered and identified and he remains officially classified as “Unaccounted For”.
PFC Francis John Monick
PFC Monick was an Iroquois Indian born in Brasher Falls, New York. His parents died when he was 13 and he was a ward in an orphanage. PFC Monick was a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was struck in the left thigh by a gunshot wound and died later that day. PFC Monick’s body was buried in a Divisional Cemetery and was undoubtedly an “Unknown” buried in Punchbowl; however, he has yet to be identified and remains “Unresolved”.
S1c Earl Leroy Morrison
Seaman First Class Morrison was 20 year old sailor from Montana assigned to the battleship USS Arizona on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941. The surprise Japanese attack left his ship a shattered, sunk hulk and 1,177 crew members dead or missing, most of them entombed forever inside the battleship. Among the missing was Seaman Morrison. On 25 April 2012, Chief Stone, while a member of the Department of Defense, investigated Seaman Morrison’s case and determined that he was the only “Most Likely Match” to Halawa Unknown X-51, buried in the Punchbowl Cemetery. On 3 August 2013, Seaman Morrison’s family requested a “Family Report” from the Foundation regarding his case, which confirmed Chief Stone’s previous assessment. Despite Chief Stone’s official recommendation for the forensic identification of Unknown X-51 in 2012 and a subsequent NBC News investigative report in 2013, Seaman Earl Leroy Morrison continues to remain buried as an “Unknown” in Section Q, Grave Number 1147 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
PLSGT Basil Norman, Jr.
Platoon Sergeant Basil Norman, Jr. was born in San Francisco, California. After enlisting in the Marine Corps in August 1941, “Buster” (as he was known to his family and friends) rose quickly through the ranks and fought during the Guadalcanal Campaign as a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. PLSGT Norman landed in the first wave at Red Beach 1 on Tarawa on 20 November 1943 . He and his unit were the first U.S. Marines to land on Tarawa. PLSGT Norman’s Silver Star citation records his fate: “With utter disregard for his own personal safety, he advanced on the enemy weapon in the face of intense rifle fire and, reaching grenade range, quickly silenced the Japanese gun. Boldly continuing his attack on the enemy, he was killed by a Japanese sniper while neutralizing a hostile machine-gun nest.” PLGST Norman’s body was buried in Cemetery 18 on Tarawa with three other Marines. None of these four have ever been identified. At the present time, PLSGT Norman is a “Most Likely Match” to several “Unknowns” previously buried in Punchbowl; however, he has yet to be identified and remains “Unresolved”.
SGT Millard Odom
SGT Odom was born in Batesville, Arkansas. His father died two years after his birth and his mother remarried. SGT Odom joined the Marine Corps in 1936 and served on the battleships USS Mississippi and USS New Mexico. SGT Odom was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was struck in the left side and neck by a gunshot wounds and died instantly behind the seawall on Red Beach 1. SGT Odom’s body was listed in his military records as buried in Cemetery 33 on Tarawa but in 2011 Chief Stone, while a member of the Department of Defense, identified SGT Odom as a “Most Likely Match” to Unknown X-273 which had been recovered from Cemetery 11 and not Cemetery 33. In September 2018, SGT Odom was officially identified as Unknown X-273 and he was returned home to his family in California for burial.
PVT Jewel Raymond Peace
PVT Peace was born in Louann, Arkansas and attended Texas A&M University. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1944 and completed basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. PVT Peace was shipped to the Pacific and assigned to a reserve unit for the invasion of Iwo Jima. PVT Peace was accepted to the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia and was assigned there when the war ended. He died in Round Rock, Texas at age 91.
PFC Glenn Edward Powell
PFC Powell was born in Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from high school there before following his father in the plumbing trade. He was soon married but joined the U.S. Marine Corps in February 1942 and completed basic training at San Diego, California. PFC Powell was shipped to the Pacific and participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign. As a member of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, PFC Powell attempted to land with his unit on Tarawa’s Red Beach 1 near the “Bird’s Beak” on the morning of 20 November 1943. He then vanished into history and his remains have never been found and identified. PFC Powell remains officially in “Unresolved” status.
PVT Emil Francesco Ragucci
PVT Ragucci was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as one of eleven children. Emil was a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was 19 years old when he was killed by a gunshot wound and fell back into a crater where his LVT landing craft had become disabled. His remains were not found until 2013 and he was finally identified in 2017. PVT Ragucci was returned home for burial in his family plot in 2018.
Store Keeper 3rd Class Alvin Wilder Rahn
SK3c Rahn was born in Savannah, Georgia and worked as a clerk for the Seaboard Railway Company before he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves in Spartanburg, South Carolina on 25 February 1944. At the time of his enlistment, SK3c Rahn was married and 33 years of age. After basic training, SK3c Rahn was assigned to the cruiser USS Indianapolis and served continuously on board until the ship was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-58 on 30 July 1945. A Foundation investigation determined that the body of SK3c Rahn was recovered from a life raft and identified on 3 August 1945 before he was given a “Burial at Sea.” Despite his burial, SK3c Rahn continues to be listed as “Unaccounted For” by the Defense POW/ MIA Accounting Command. The Foundation is currently working with the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command and Indy survivors organizations to have SK3c Rahn’s MIA status changed by providing documentary evidence of his official burial at sea.
PFC Otto Reeder
PFC Reeder was born in Evansville, Indiana and a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. Two days later, PFC Reeder was killed by a gunshot wound to the head and was buried in what would later become one of Tarawa’s “Lost Cemeteries”. His remains have never been found and identified and PFC Reeder remains officially in “Unresolved” status.
CPL Arthur Edward Ribeiro, Jr.
CPL Ribeiro was born in Buffalo, New York and a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa’s Red Beach 2. CPL Ribeiro was known as “Art” to his family and friends and had a twin brother. On 21 November 1943, CPL Ribeiro received multiple gunshot wounds and died on that day. CPL Ribeiro was identified after the battle buried at an unknown location on Tarawa. He officially remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
PFC Myrl Melvin Sauers, Jr.
PFC Sauers was born in Santa Cruz, California. “Mel” wrote to his grandmother that he grew two inches taller and added 25 pounds to his frame after he joined the Marines. He was a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines when he attempted to land on Tarawa’s Red Beach 3 on 20 November 1943. PFC Sauers’ actions during the battle are unknown and he simply disappeared into history. PFC Sauers was listed as “Missing in Action” and he officially remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
Warrant Officer Bernard Elmer Shealy
WO Shealy was born in Little Mountain, South Carolina. He was 18 years old when he first joined the Marine Corps in 1935. WO Shealy served on board the battleship USS Arizona as a member of the Marine Detachment before World War II. He was an expert marksman with rifle and pistol and competed in many competitions. After his term of enlistment was completed in 1939, WO Shealy rejoined the Marines the next day. He received training in an Amphibious Tractor Battalion and rapidly moved through the ranks. WO Shealy was a member of Headquarters Company, 2nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion when he attempted to land near Tarawa’s Red Beach 1 on 20 November 1943. He was killed by a gunshot wound to the temple and buried near the beach after the battle. His company mates built him a special grave marker inscribed “Happy Landings”. Despite photographic evidence of his known burial location, Warrant Officer Shealy has never been found and he officially remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
Private Clifford Siegel
PVT Siegel was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota but his family soon moved to Newark, New Jersey. Clifford worked in the grocery and meat market trades as a teenager until he enlisted in U.S. Marine Corps Reserves on 22 October 1942. PVT Siegel was unmarried but the left behind a fiancee, Ethel, when he went off to war. First trained as a member of a 90mm anti-aircraft gun team , PVT Siegel was transported to New Zealand in 1943 where he joined F Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines as a rifleman. On the morning of 20 November 1943, PVT Siegel climbed down the rope ladder on the side of the transport ship USS Heywood into a waiting landing craft for the assault on Tarawa. He was never heard from again. PVT Siegel’s body was not found after the battle and he was not listed as buried in any cemetery. Unfortunately, PVT Siegel has yet to be recovered and identified and he remains in “Unresolved” status to this day.
CPL Joseph Mike Simonetti
CPL Simonetti was born in Illinois and was a member of F Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines when he landed on Tarawa’s Red Beach 2 on 20 November 1943. CPL Simonetti was killed shortly after reaching the beach. After the battle he was identified and buried in a nearby cemetery on Tarawa. However, when his body was recovered in 1946, CPL Simonetti’s identity could not be confirmed and he was designated “X-36”. CPL Simonetti’s remains were identified by the Army Central Identification Laboratory in 1947 and he was buried in the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii at the request of his family. CPL Simonetti is interred in Section 1, Grave 595 at the Punchbowl.
SGT Morris Wallace Skinner
SGT Skinner was born in Galveston, Texas and was known as “Red” to his family and friends due to his wavy, red hair and a face full of freckles. As a member of H Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, SGT Skinner was a machine gunner when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. He was reported Killed in Action by gunshots on that day. SGT Skinner’s body was found after the battle and buried in a Divisional Cemetery. Unfortunately, he has not been officially identified and remains in “Unresolved” status.
Captain Walter Perrin Tribble
CAPT Tribble was born in South Carolina and was a member of the ROTC program at what later became Clemson University. He was a crew member on a B-29 bomber that was shot down over Tokyo on 23 May 1945 and was held as a Japanese POW until the end of the war. On 22 November 1952, Captain Tribble was a passenger on a C-124A transport plane that crashed on Mount Gannett in Alaska. He remained missing until Chief Stone investigated his case in 2012 based on wreckage sighted on the glacier. Captain Tribble was finally identified and returned home to his family in 2017.
2nd Lieutenant Donald Eugene Underwood
2nd LT Underwood was born in Michigan and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 22 February 1942. He was the bombardier on a B-24 bomber named “Miss Bee Haven” that crashed soon after takeoff from Tarawa on 21 January 1944. A report by the Foundation requested by the U.S. Congress determined that 2nd LT Underwood that of six other airmen were buried in a section of a cemetery on Tarawa that had not yet been discovered. In February 2017, 2nd LT Underwood was found in the location specified in the Foundation’s Congressional report. He was identified in September 2017 and returned home for burial by his family.
PFC Orson La Moyne Walton
PFC Walton was born in Auburn, Washington and a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 20 November 1943. His company was assigned to land on Red Beach 3 and PFC Walton was wounded by gunshots and later died on that day. PFC Walton’s body was identified after the battle and he was buried in a Divisional Cemetery however he has yet to be identified as a recovered set of remains. PFC Walton is officially in “Unresolved” status.
PFC John Cyrus Westfall, Jr.
PFC Westfall was born in Miami County, Ohio and a member of A Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines when he landed on Tarawa on 21 November 1943. His company was assigned to land on Red Beach 2 and PFC Westfall was reported Killed in Action on that day. PFC Westfall’s body was not identified after the battle and he officially remains in “Unresolved” status.