“Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo.”
The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the war that the United States faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. Previous landings met little or no initial resistance, but this time the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well-prepared, and they fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The Battle of Tarawa (US code name Operation Galvanic) was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943.The U.S. had suffered similar casualties in other campaigns, for example over the six months of the Guadalcanal Campaign. Here the 2nd Marine Division earned a large reputation for their brutality and warrior styled strength
The bodies of 36 WWII Marines that died a hero’s death in the Battle Of Tarawa in 1943 have been recovered from an isolated island in the Pacific.The remains of these brave soldiers will be brought back to America to be given a proper burial.
The U.S Marines, who laid down their lives more than 70 years ago in World War II, will finally be cremated with full military honors, confirmed Mark Noah, director of Florida-based non-profit History Flight Inc., the agency that shouldered the responsibility. He added that that an extensive and painstaking four-month excavation on Betio Island in Kiribati had finally resulted in the discovery of the Marines’ bodies.
“[They] had an expectation that if they were to die in the line of duty defending their country they would be brought home… that was a promise made 70 years ago that we felt should be kept.”
“U.S. Marines are seen as they advance against Japanese positions during the invasion at Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Islands, in this late November 1943 photo. Of the nearly 5,000 Japanese soldiers and workers on the island, only 146 were captured, the rest were killed.”