Wyoming Marine depicted from World War II
WASHINGTON, DC (release) – The Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) today announced that Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Jack E. Hill, 21, of Casper, Wyoming, killed in World War II, was found on June 26, 2020.
In November 1943, Hill was a member of D Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against strong Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in Tarawa Atoll des Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. During several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, around 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and over 2,000 were wounded, while the Japanese were virtually wiped out. Hill died on the third day of the battle, November 22, 1943. He was reportedly buried in Row D of the East Division Cemetery, later renamed Cemetery 33.
In 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company centralized all American remains found in Tarawa to Lone Palm Cemetery for later repatriation. However, nearly half of the known victims have never been found. No remains found could be associated with Hill, and in October 1949 a review board declared him “unrecoverable.”
In 2009, History Flight, Inc., a non-profit organization, discovered a burial site on Betio Island believed to be Cemetery 33, which has been the site of numerous excavations since. In March 2019, excavations west of cemetery 33 revealed an as yet undiscovered burial site which has since been identified as row D. The remains recovered from this site were transferred to the DPAA laboratory at the joint base of Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
To identify Hill’s remains, DPAA scientists used anthropological analyzes, as well as circumstantial and physical evidence. Additionally, scientists in the Armed Forces Forensic Pathologist system used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Hill’s name is registered on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific along with the other World War II dead. A rosette will be placed next to its name to indicate that it has been taken into account.
Hill will be buried on November 11, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.
For more family and funeral information, contact the Marine Corps Casualty Office at (800) 847-1597.
DPAA is grateful to the Republic of Kiribati and appreciates History Flight, Inc., for their partnership in this mission.
For more information on the Department of Defense’s mission to account for Americans who disappeared while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or find us on social media social at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https: // www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Hill’s staff profiles can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000E0tmdEAB.
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