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All Original Written Material copyright 1999, Dan Marsh; all original artwork copyright 1999 by Louie Marsh. Please use with permission only.

 

 

Kwajalein Beheaded Raiders

            Here’s the latest information that we have on the Lost Raiders, this info is specifically concerning those Raiders who wre beheaded on Kwajalein. We’d like to thank many people for this information especially Don Harn.

Just a note to inform you of the progress on the recovery team and the Space and missile commands efforts to honor and assist with the members of the Raiders recovery and to place a memorial on Kwajalien. While I have yet to receive it the Space and missile Command has called me on the Phone to keep me up to date.

!. Plaques are at the foundry being cast. These will be in place on Kwajalein honoring our lost comrades.

2. Information provided by J. Beau on records of Admiral Abe's IJN trial gave clue that provided enough information that the members of the Space and Missle command have an area that could be the burial site of our Fallen comrades. They informed me that a team from CILHI is now going to send a exploration team to the site.

For your information. Latest information from Kwajalein request names/address/home state of living members of the Second Raider Bn. that went to Makin Island  on the Raid be sent to the Command. As the plaques are now at the foundry. They would like to have the numbers of Raiders that would attend the placement of these plaques on Kwajalein.

One other thing:The Island was not scrapped clear but had Appox. three feet of fill added.

Here are more pictures from the recovery efforts.


Here's another picture of the return of the Lost Raiders

Here's another update - this time from Gunny Sgt. Dan Joy - thanks Gunny!

AHOY RAIDERS, Fellow Marines (and Corpsmen), I was the SNCOIC assigned to escort the remains of 20 beleived to be Marines from MAKIN Island to Hawaii. It was an honor to do this for my Marine bretheren. We were notified the afternoon of 15 Dec of the repaitration detail and formed a Color Guard/Honor Guard, then mustered at 0530/16 Dec at MCAS Futenma on Okinawa for departure. Boarding a C-130 from VMGR-152, our first leg of the trip took us to Kwajalein (Bucholtz Army Air Field) for refuel and remain overnight. We departed Kawajalein the next day enroute to MAKIN Island. It was a an uneventful trip except for the landing... The Aircraft Commander (Pilot) circled the Island no less than 4 times! The runway we were briefed about was no more than a football field long and was scrub grass and dirt. After the local natives were cleared off the "runway" the C-130 made a "tactical decent" towards the runway. The crew chiefs told all aboard to "tighten your seatbelts" as this was going to be a "short runway landing..."!!! Short it was! We landed and a Color Guard/Honor detail (complete with the National Ensign, Marine Corps Colors and two rifle bearers) exited the ramp of the C-130 to ecsort the remains onboard the aircraft with the entire C-130 Crew and Color Guard/Honor Guard rendering honors to each set of remains as they were loaded aboard the aircraft. The members of the recovery force JTF-FA (Joint Task Force Full Accounting) provided us with details of their recovery efforts. My hats off to the entire JTF-FA Team. JOB WELL DONE! Originally we were informed of 17-18 sets of remains were found. When we arrived, the number increased to 20 found. Each set of remains was loaded aboard the aircraft and placed "centerline" in the C-130. The Honor Guard/Color Guard along with the crew and JTF-FA Team was flanking the boxes containing the recovered remains. A very solem moment. I do not think there was one word spoken as each person aboard did not accept the full impact of this historical event until we were staring at the 20 boxes in front of us then we realized we were finally "bringing our guy home". There were tears in numerous eyes as I looked around the interior of the plane as we taxied for take off enroute to Hawaii. We arrived in Hawaii early Friday morning and the "Formal" ceremony was at 1500 Friday afternoon at Hickam. I have about 40 lbs of sand that I obtained for the beach on Makin Island. I also obtained an M1 which I mailed to the Marine Raider Museum. I am honored to have been selected to head this detail to MAKIN Island. "Marines take care of their own". Semper Fidelis and GUNG HO RAIDERS! GySgt Dan Joy, III MEF, Okinawa Japan. PSC 559 BOX 5461 FPO-AP 96377-5461


12/18/99 - MORE info - with pictures at the end of the story We'd like to thank the Marine Corps News for this info.

By Sgt. Kane Walsh

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (Dec. 17) -- Remains believed to be those of 20 U.S. Marines killed in action on Butaritari Island during World War II's Makin Atoll Raid in August, 1942, were repatriated at a ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base Dec. 17.

The Marines were from the famous 2nd Raider Battalion, a commando organization specializing in amphibious landings. One of the Marine Raiders killed in action during the Makin Atoll raid was Sgt. Clyde Thomason, the first enlisted Marine awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II. The medal was presented posthumously for his actions on Butaritari.

"Marines are Marines whether or not they are living or dead, that's the tie that binds us together as Marines," said retired Marine sergeant major and Medal of Honor recipient Allan J. Kellogg Jr., an attendee at the repatriation ceremony. "We're going to keep working until they are all back."

The U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) conducted a series of three search and recovery efforts beginning in August, 1998. According to CILHI officials, the recovery of remains on Butaritari represents the largest and potentially the most significant recovery to date. For two Marines who participated in the excavation as part of CILHI, its significance would be difficult to overstate.

"At the end of every day, I was run down, tired, hot and sweaty," said GySgt. Darrell E. Farringer. "But then every morning I woke up feeling confident and determined. We were going to find them and bring those Marines home."

Eighteen Marines were killed and 12 were declared missing following the historic landing in 1942 -- the first such use of the newly created Marine Raiders. Personally led by one of the founders of the Raiders, then-Maj. Evans Carlson, two companies of Marine Raiders battled the Japanese force holding Butaritari, leaving at least 83 enemy dead and destroying two seaplanes.

The son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Maj. James Roosevelt, also participated in the raid, and, along with the other surviving Marine Raiders, successfully withdrew by rubber boats to awaiting U.S. Navy submarines.

Nine of the missing 12 Raiders were captured and executed by Japanese soldiers on Kwajalein. Due to the difficult withdrawal from the island and problems with communications, the missing men weren't even known to be missing until weeks later. By then, it was too late.

"It was an honor to be a part of something like this," said Capt. Thomas Wood, the commander of troops for the ceremony. "It was very humbling to be standing out there thinking about the sacrifices these Marines made."

Although the remains are believed to be those of the Marines killed in action on Butaritari, CILHI officials will conduct examinations to positively identify them. According to officials at CILHI, positive identification can take more than a year to complete.

"This has been probably the most important mission I've been on," said Capt. David McMullen, a co-pilot of the KC-130R from VMGR-152 that brought the remains home.

                                          -30-


12/17/99 - Below is the official press release about the Lost Raiders returning home after so long!

MARINE FORCES PACIFIC

Force Public Affairs Office

Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii 96861

Comm: (808) 477-8314/8310

DSN: 477-8310

FAX: (808) 477-8715 FAX DSN : 477-8715

http://www.mfp.usmc.mil

For more information, call: Capt. Chris Hughes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MISSING WWII MARINE REMAINS TO BE REPATRIATED

CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Dec. 16, 1999) -- Remains believed to be those of U.S. Marines killed in action on Butaritari Island during World War II's Makin Atoll Raid in August, 1942, will be repatriated at a ceremony on Hickam Air Force Base, Friday at 3 p.m.

The Marines were from the famous 2nd Raider Battalion, a commando organization specializing in amphibious landings. One of the Marine Raiders killed in action during the Makin Atoll raid was Sgt. Clyde Thomason, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II. The medal was presented posthumously for his actions on Butaritari.

The U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) conducted a series of three search and recovery efforts, which began in August, 1998. According to CILHI officials, the recovery of remains on Butaritari represents the largest and potentially most significant recovery to date.

Eighteen Marines were killed and 12 declared missing following the historic 1942 landing -- the first such use of the newly formed Marine Raiders. Personally led by one of the founders of the Raiders, then-Maj. Evans Carlson, two companies of Marine Raiders battled the Japanese force holding Butaritari, leaving at least 83 enemy dead and destroying two seaplanes. The son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Maj. James Roosevelt, also participated in the raid, and, along with the other surviving Marine Raiders, successfully withdrew by rubber boats to awaiting U.S. Navy submarines. Nine of the missing 12 Raiders were later captured and executed by Japanese soldiers on Kwajalein.

Although the remains are believed to be those of the Marines killed in action on Butaritari, CILHI officials will conduct examinations to positively identify them. According to officials at CILHI, positive identification can take more than a year to complete.

Media and interested parties are invited to attend the repatriation ceremony. For more information on the ceremony, please contact Capt. Chris Hughes of the Marine Forces Pacific Public Affairs Office at (808) 477-8314.

For information about the recovery efforts or the identification process, please contact Maj. Mike Cowan or Staff Sgt. Earl Bushong of the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, at (808) 448-0583.

-30-

Remains Of Lost Raiders 
Identified by CILHI December 2000

Here is the list of those 2nd Raiders that were identifed and returned to their families by the CLHI. 

Field. Music 1st

Vernon L. Castle, Stillwater, OK

Cpl. I. B. Earles, Tulare, CA

Pfc. William A. Gallagher, Wyandotte, MI

Cpl. Daniel A. Gaston, Galveston, TX

Pfc. Ashley W. Hicks, Waterford, CA

Capt. Gerald P. Holtom, Palo Alto, CA

Cpl. Harris J. Johnson, Little Rock , Iowa

Cpl. Kenneth K. Kunkle, Mountain Home, AK

Pvt. Carlyle O. Larson, Glenwood, MN

Cpl. Edward Maciejewski, Chicago, IL

Pvt. Robert B. Maulding, Vista, CA

Pfc . Kenneth M. Montgomery, Eden, WI

Pfc. Norman W. Mortensen, Camp Douglas, WI

Pvt. Franklin M. Nodland, Marshall town, IA

Cpl. Robert B. Pearson, Lafayette, CA

Pvt. Charles A. Selby, Ontonagon, MI

Pfc. John E. Vandenberg, Kenosha, WI.

Cpl. , Mason O. Yarbrough, Sikeston, MO.

Sgt. Clyde Thomason, Atlanta, Ga.