Current News

Marines come home.

Marines come home.

Remains of Missing WWII Veterans Return

Story courtesy of KHON.com & info from “Goodbye Darkness” by William Manchester

PEARL HARBOR (KHON2) — 39 U.S. marines who were missing in action during World War II were honored in a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam on July 26th.

These veterans were reunited with their families after 72 years as unidentified remains. After the Battle of Tarawa during World War II the marines were considered to be missing in action.

Crews of scientists, historians, and surveyors from the non-profit History Flight have combed through Tarawa for the past decade. This is considered to be the largest recovery of missing in action veterans ever recorded.

Four of the veterans received the Medal of Honor; including 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.  Bonnyman, an engineer officer, along with 5 of his men, were responsible for approximately 200 enemy KIA, including the commanding Japanese admiral.  A link explaining the actions of Medal of Honor winner Bonnyman.

“We stand here humbled before you today to receive, honor and commemorate our fallen courageous Marine Corps warriors who on the field of battle fought and died to preserve our freedom,” Capt. Mark Hendricks, U.S. Marine Corps Pacific Chaplain, told KHON.

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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma – Pearl Harbor

HONOLULU (AP) — The military on Monday exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is part of an effort announced in April to account for up to 388 Oklahoma sailors and Marines still classified as missing.

The cemetery and the military allowed media to observe a ceremony afterward during which flags were draped over the coffins. An honor guard and cemetery staff transported the coffins to trucks that carried the remains to a laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Michael Linnington, a retired Army lieutenant general who currently leads the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, told reporters the lab in Hawaii will identify some remains using dental records. The remains will then be sent to another lab in Omaha for DNA analysis.

He said family members of those missing are eager to have their fathers, grandfathers and uncles identified.  “They want their loved ones home, and we’re happy to help them in that process,” Linnington said.

The Oklahoma identification project involves disinterring 61 caskets at 45 grave sites at the Honolulu cemetery commonly known as Punchbowl. About 15 caskets have been exhumed.

The Oklahoma capsized after being hit by torpedoes during the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack. Altogether, 429 sailors and Marines on board were killed. Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after.

Hundreds were buried as unknowns at cemeteries in Hawaii. In 1950, they were reburied as unknowns at Punchbowl.  The military is acting now, more than 70 years after the men died, because advances in forensic science and technology as well as genealogical help from family members have made it possible to identify more remains.

The agency expects to identify about 80 percent of Oklahoma crew members now considered missing. It expects the work will take about five years.

Some of analysis will conducted at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

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Christmas in July

Story condensed from the Palm Beach Post by Olivia Hitchcock

Last Saturday, over 30 volunteers from Florida Power & Light Co. packed 300 boxes filled with donated goods to send to US troops.  They gathered in the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach warehouse to stuff boxes with a bit of holiday cheer for a Christmas in July.

Each month, the nonprofit Forgotten Soldiers Outreach aims to send out care packages to the 1,000 or so soldiers registered with the program.  Most often it is the Chaplains officers and family who register the servicemen.  But soldiers do sign themselves up too, “which shows you that they’re looking for that little bit of home.”

The online registration asks for deployment dates, an address and any specific requests.  The organization is asked for anything from Kleenex to socks to beef jerky.  The org. works with companies, schools and families to get these boxes filled and shipped out.

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Christmas in July aims to let the soldiers know they haven’t been forgotten – Merry Christmas to ALL our servicemen – from Pacific Paratrooper!!

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A Hero’s Welcome Home 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 4ed5de7f2a51efbf9924b76307f63e26

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Birk – Port Washington, NY; US Army, WWII, CBI

John Cumpstone – Otorohanga, NZ; 11th Reinforcements # 448794, WWIIAS YOU SLEEP

Ted Earle – Toronto, CAN & FL; Merchant Marine, WWII/RC Navy, Korea, HMCS Haida

Branislav Kapitan – Cheshire, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, radio operator/gunner

Frank Miale – Johnston, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 82nd Airborne, Purple Heart

Michael Runyun – Newark, OH; US Army, Lt., Iraq, 25th Infantry Division

Jimmie Smith – Milton, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 457th Artillery (Ret. 21 years)

Jordon Tuttle – W.Monroe, LA; US Army, Iraq, 256 Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Sgt.

Daren Vick – Great Falls, MT; US Army, Korea, 340th Engineer Regiment

Margaret Wood – UK & Louisville, KY; British Royal Air Force, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 30, 2015, in Current News, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.

  1. Excellent reading on a very moving occasion.
    Closure after so many years, brings a sense that all was not in vain, that these men’s sacrifices was not in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In gratitude and memorium. Thank you.

    Like

  3. Good to see those boys finally come home. Yes, I agree with everyone in that it provides closure. Even when I have had to euthanize an old or terminally ill cat, I bring the body home for the others to sniff and pay their respects. They understand what has happened. And they do pay their respects, each in their own way. Even our pets need closure of this kind, and stop fretting over the “disappeared”.

    Great dog video, GP! Happy dog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Families will now have a closing to that chapter of their life, but it would also be heartbreaking to live through the trauma again.

    Like

    • Having a person disappear, taken from you forever, I don’t believe that trauma ever really goes away for any of the families. I have even heard people who were infants when their father’s shipped out say that in their lives there had always been an unexplained hole. I sincerely feel that when these remains come home, it is a partial closure for most. I appreciate your comment and concern, but I believe it is a good thing for them. Thanks for reading here, Bev.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so proud they have been doing this identity discovery . I am from Oklahoma and I know this will help folks here in their grieving process. Thank you so much for sharing this with us GP.

    Peace to you

    Like

  6. A great tribute here, GP, to the efforts and actions of caring people involved in identifying and bringing home the fallen soldiers. A humbling post. (Thanks, BTW, for correcting me on your name.)

    Like

    • Thank you for coming by to see this post, so many of our troops are still out there and finally the US and Japan are making headway in bringing the KIAs back where they belong. (No problem).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. EmilyAnn Frances

    The “Christmas in July” program is an excellent one! I’m glad you included this among your updates. Not everyone has the time to scout the internet for this kind of info.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually this one was in the newspaper, but I wish I had more time. Between research and v-e-r-y slow typing [no matter how much practice I get] there are others who surf the web far more than I. I’m grateful that some include links here for everyone to read. Thank you for coming by, EmilyAnn !

      Like

  8. We owe our military the best and our veterans as well, they are not getting that. It is a moral outrage and as Carl wrote, a national disgrace that our country has allowed and is providing such shabby treatment of these men and women who have sacrificed so much. We must help them financially and emotionally make the transition to civilian life and provide ongoing medical care for the physically and mentally wounded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Hollie for your sentiments in this matter toward our military. Most members of our government have never served and somehow do not comprehend what these troops have done for them. Sad situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We must never give up and never forget. Every soldier deserves a homecoming, a thank-you, and above all, our respect.

    A beautiful tribute, GP. Thanks for all you do to honor all our bravest men and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is very moving. The work on identifying and honoring these service members is so important to their families. My heart goes out to the families who are having to face the loss of a loved one over again, and hope that identification will bring them closure and peace. Thank you for sharing such an important set of stories.

    Like

  11. That’s a lot of people who will
    Probably never be found and closure for those left behind will be hard. An interesting video, pets miss their owners too! – what a welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Please accept my nomination of your blog! See the details in the link below!

    http://talesalongtheway.com/2015/07/30/three-day-quote-challenge-day-three/

    Like

    • I apologize, Anne, but I will not be accepting your nomination. I hope you understand my feelings as I described on your post. Thank you for being so loyal to the Pacific Paratrooper!!

      Like

  13. Besides everything else, I loved the dog video.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Modern wonders of DNA analysis are going to unlock the mysteries and heal the families finally. So wonderful…and the doggy obviously understands the loneliness which resulted after master was deployed…doggy expresses her delight that he did return…clip lifted my spirits up…I imagine a similar reaction from my doggy, as we reunite someday .

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This was so good to see. I’ve been following the Tarawa story for a while through a friend who has been working on a book about his grandfather’s experience in WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have the books, “Vanished”, “Flyboys” and “Goodbye Darkness” that really help to bring these stories home. Tarawa was one God-awful battle; I’ve read a ton on that and still new info comes up. With so much going on at once and the mistakes made, each Marine must have seen just his area of battle, as is described about D-Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is excellent news and I am so glad for the families. In England, the government seem as if they could not care less and apparently, as many as 25% of Great War casualties are in graves marked “A soldier of the Great War”. Families deserve a lot better than this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can not imagine the grief a family feels going through life not knowing what happened to their son, or where he was. Thank you for your compassion, John.

      Like

  17. Thanks for reminding us that some people just never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You owe me more Puffs on the dog video, gpcox…

    But one thing that is always on the back of my mind… I realize the monetary investment in recovering lost remains are worth it, I can’t help but to think about all the buried remains under crosses marked “Unknown”. The remains are there… The government should be able to quickly make determinations today and bring closure to thousands without too much additional investment. At least that is what I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are also government and citizen issues blocking their efforts sometimes. That is one reason why efforts seem to have suddenly picked up. Vietnam used to be a major roadblock in the lab’s efforts. Then you have traditions – the US Navy feels the ships should remain the tomb of the sailors, while the Air Force wants the planes raised and the men brought home. Official reports of the locations can be only a few yards off – but jungle growth or sea conditions have changed over the years. So much involved, but efforts are going full steam these days!
      I think we’re going to have ship Puffs by the caseload soon!!

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Nice to see those efforts to identify and return the servicemen posted as ‘missing’.
    ‘Nobody left behind’ springs to mind.
    (My dog acts like that when I have been out to the supermarket for 45 minutes!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. A very noble effort of respect and honor.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (7-31-2015) | My Daily Musing

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