139 WWII Marines entombed on Tarawa Atoll FOUND
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Researchers: 139 WWII Marines entombed on Tarawa Atoll 

 MELISSA NELSON, Associated Press Writer Melissa Nelson, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 26, 11:06 am ET

  • In this undated image released by Jim Johnson, his father Clayton William
  • AP – In this undated image released by Jim Johnson, his father Clayton William Johnson, left, is seen next …

  • PENSACOLA, Fla. – A Florida man's quest to find hundreds of U.S. Marines buried anonymously after one of World War II's bloodiest battles could lead to the largest identification of American war dead in history.

    Researchers used ground-penetrating radar, tediously reviewed thousands of military documents and interviewed hundreds of others to find 139 graves. There, they say, lie the remains of men who died 65 years ago out in the Pacific Ocean on Tarawa Atoll.

    Mark Noah of Marathon, Fla., raised money for the expedition through his nonprofit, History Flight, by selling vintage military aircraft rides at air shows. He hopes the government will investigate further after research is given to the U.S. Defense Department in January — and he hopes the remains are identified and eventually returned to the men's families.

    "There will have to be convincing evidence before we mount an excavation of any spot that could yield remains," said Larry Greer, spokesman for the Pentagon's Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Office.

    U.S. government archaeologists would likely excavate a small test site first, he said.

    James Clayton Johnson never met his uncle, James Bernard Johnson, who died on Tarawa at age 17. But Johnson, who was named for his father's brother, never forgot that young Marine.

    Now 60 and living near Noah in the Florida Keys, Johnson learned of the effort to identify the burial sites of his uncle and 541 other missing U.S. Marines on Tarawa while researching his uncle's military records online.

    More than 990 U.S. marines and 680 sailors died and almost 2,300 were wounded in the three-day battle, one of the first major amphibious assaults in the Pacific.

    Johnson, himself a veteran who led troops into Cambodia as a 21-year-old Army platoon leader during the Vietnam War, isn't sure having his uncle's body returned to the U.S. would provide any sort of closure.

    "There aren't any open wounds for me that need fixing," the former special forces soldier said.

    But Johnson wants the world to know about the volunteers committed to preserving the names and stories of thousands of American soldiers.

    "My problem is that people don't care," he said. "I get pumped up, and I want people to think and look at things like this."

    Noah, a 43-year-old commercial pilot and longtime World War II history buff, raised the $90,000 for the Tarawa work by selling rides at air shows and partnering with The American Legion, VFW and other groups.

    Noah and Massachusetts historian Ted Darcy of WFI Research Group reviewed eight burial sites they believe contain U.S. remains. They say the claim is backed by burial rosters, casualty cards and combat reports; interviews with construction contractors who found human remains at the sites and locals who have found American artifacts; and other information.

    But they'll leave the digging to the U.S. government, so the archaeological integrity of the sites isn't spoiled.

    The names of many fallen soldiers were lost as U.S. Navy crews rushed to build desperately needed landing strips on the tiny atoll after the Nov. 20, 1943, invasion. Many of the graves were relocated.

    The military didn't focus on identifying the soldiers who died at Tarawa until 1945, when an Army officer was tasked with unraveling the hasty reburials.

    "You could sense his frustrations in his reports," said Noah, who reviewed all the burial records.

    The brief telegram James Hildebrand's grandmother received on Dec. 26, 1943, said her 20-year-old son died on Tarawa Atoll and included this line: "On account of existing conditions the body if recovered cannot be returned at present. If further details are received you will be informed."

    James Hildebrand, now 65 and living in Gilroy, Calif., said his grandmother wrote letters to the Navy for years trying to recover his uncle's body.

    He'd like to know whether the remains could be buried in a mass grave in a military cemetery in Hawaii with a group of unidentified U.S. soldiers taken from Tarawa many years ago. And he hopes the Defense Department will try to find his uncle's body on Tarawa.

    "If he's still on the island ... there's space in our family plot in Tucson where he could be buried. It would mean a lot to our family," he said.

    For 10 years, Merill Redman of Illinois has ultimately been encouraged by reports of efforts to find his brother's body on Tarawa. He's been disappointed each time.

    Redman, now 79, was 14 when his older brother joined the Marine Corps and left their small town of Watseka. He's even traveled to Tarawa himself, trying to find his brother and bring him home.

    "Each little thread," he said, "it drives me on in this project."

    (This version CORRECTS that Johnson was not with the special forces in Cambodia. Edits to conform.)

  • USS ARIZONA Marine Remembrance At Pearl Harbor
    UPDATE:    We saved the Marine Corps Rememberance Memorial in Pearl Harbor From The National Park Service.


    From:    Colonel John R. Bates USMC (ret)
    UPDATE:   A couple of years ago, I was the Operations Officer for the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, on the waterfront between the USS ARIZONA and the USS BOWFIN. The Commandant of the Marine Corps was the featured speaker at the dedication of the USS ARIZONA Marine Remembrance, 10 November 2006. The National Park Service, which administers the USS ARIZONA Memorial is renovating all of Halawa Landing, the site of the Marine Remembrance. The Regional Director of the Natl Park Service Western Region, Jon Jarvis, stated on the local TV news that the Marine Remembrance would be removed. I challenged him on that statement and convinced him that would not happen without a fight. I passed the word to (disabled CAP Marine vet) Jack Cunningham (Americans Working Together), who in turn asked his readership to email Jarvis that the entire USMC would make every effort to have him relieved of his duties if he moved that monument. I was copied on many of the emails to him from Marines, their friends and their families that it nearly fried my computer. worked. In order to save his job, Jarvis backed down. The Remembrance now belongs to the USMC and has its' rightful place in direct view of the USS ARIZONA.



    Now, Jack Cunningham can use our help himself, as he fights for his due process against a corrupt law firm and state officials who are protecting them.

    A state Supreme Court attorney ethics Vice-Chairman Robert Correale misuses his high level government and court office to Cover-Up and block ethics violations and legal malpractice charges against his own law firm, Maynard & Truland.  After eight years, the Cover-Up leads all the way up to the Governor's Office, the Attorney General's Office, the state's Supreme Court and Superior Court.

    Disabled Vietnam vet, Jack Cunningham's ethic complaints start with Robert Correale's and his law firm's gross negligence, over-charging per hour, false billing, lack of communications, coming to court unprepared and open perjury to the New Jersey Supreme Court and Superior Court systems.   (Evidence are Maynard & Truland's own contact, invoices, court-filed letters, court-filed documents and court-filed sworn statements, NJ Supreme Court attorney certifications, etc.)
    Thanks to some dedicated, honest State Legislators, Jack Cunningham is no longer in this battle alone.   Please read the below letters. 
    It's going to another level.  It's proof that in America, the little guy can win, if he or she does not give up...




    "The CAP is alive, US forces are better off because of your efforts nearly two generations ago, and (from the Iraqis I still talk with) the conditions in Iraq are much better today than several years ago."
           LtCol P.C. Skuta, USMC    
    Read what CAP is doing today:
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    Please press the next three pictures for larger copies.
    Three tour veteran of the Vietnam War, Sardo Sanchez (center stage) is welcomed to Crossville, Tennessee's Welcome Home to Vietnam Veterans.  Sardo Sanchez was the representative of New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson and announced to the crowd that the State of New Mexico has also named March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day.
    Left to right:   Sardo Sanchez, webmaster Jack Cunningham, Bob Tuke
    All three Vietnam Veterans served in the Marine Corps Combined Action Program (CAP).  Sardo served three tours in Vietnam and two tours in CAP.
    Right, former Marine CAP Veteran (CAP 3-4-4), Johnny J. Howard of Tennessee (28 miles from Crossville).  The night before this picture was taken, Johnny Howard was notified that his grandson was wounded in Iraq and was coming home.
    Please press the next link to read more details about Crossville, Tennessee's Welcome Home / Vietnam Veterans Day.