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The U.S. military has brought back the remains of at least 20 servicemen killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II to Hawaii.
An Air Force cargo plane flew the remains from Tarawa atoll in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati to Hawaii on Wednesday. Marines carried flag-draped caskets off the plane for a ceremony.
Remains - March - History - Flight - Organization
The remains are among those discovered in March by History Flight, a nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts.
They are believed to belong to Marines and sailors from the 6th Marine Regiment who were killed during the last night of the three-day Battle of Tarawa. More than 6,000 Americans, Japanese and Koreans died in the battle.
Anthropologists - Defense - POW/MIA - Accounting - Agency
Forensic anthropologists with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will now work to identify the remains using dental records, DNA and other clues.
More than 990 U.S. Marines and 30 U.S. sailors were killed in the 1943 Battle of Tarawa, after the U.S. launched an amphibious assault on the small island some 2,300 miles southwest of Honolulu.
Marines - Sailors - Fire - Boats - Reef
Marines and sailors quickly encountered Japanese machine-gun fire when their boats got stuck on the reef at low tide. Americans who made it to the beach faced brutal hand-to-hand combat.
The U.S. military buried its men in makeshift cemeteries where they had fallen. However Navy construction battalion sailors removed markers for these graves when they hurriedly built runways and other infrastructure to help U.S. forces push farther west across the Pacific toward Japan.
Service - Member - History - Flight - Defense
After finding service member remains, History Flight works with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the federal agency tasked with recovering the remains of missing US personnel.
Together they identify the fallen, and often arrange reburial in cooperation with living relatives and descendants.
Anthropologists - Records - DNA
Military forensic anthropologists will now work to identify them using dental records, DNA...
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