As a note, this week is the 76th anniversary of the bloody and hard-fought Battle of Tarawa.
Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith’s 2nd Mar Div– consisting of the 2nd, 8th, 10th, and 18th Marines– hit the Red Beach 1, 2, and 3 and Green Beach. The Marines were opposed by 4,800 mixed Imperial Japanese Navy SNLF and Korean construction troops, who were holed up in more than 500 sand-and-log pillboxes under command of RADM Keiji Shibazaki.
The effort for the Gilbert Islands atoll raged for three days, resulting in 3,301 Marine casualties out of the 18,000 that landed– a rate of one-in-six.
Of the four Marines who received the Medal of Honor for Tarawa, three did so posthumously.
The bodies of 36 US Marines have been found on a remote Pacific island more than 70 years after they died in a bloody World War II battle, a member of the recovery team said.
The remains of the men were discovered after a four-month excavation on Betio Island in Kiribati, director of US charity History Flight Inc., Mark Noah, told Radio New Zealand.
Noah, whose organization worked with the US Defense Department on the project, said the men were killed during the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.
“(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,” he said late Tuesday.
While the remains have not been formally identified, Noah said they almost certainly include those of Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman, who posthumously received America’s highest military accolade, the Medal of Honor, for conspicuous gallantry.