US returns to Tarawa to search for remains of Marines killed in pivotal World War II battle

By Audrey Mcavoy, AP
Saturday, August 28, 2010

US searching for remains of WWII Marines on Tarawa

HONOLULU — The Battle of Tarawa was one of the first U.S. amphibious campaigns of World War II. It was also one of the most ferocious.

Thousands of Marines charged the beach, only to be mowed down by Japanese machine gun fire when their boats got stuck on the coral reef. Hundreds of Marines died, and thousands more were injured in just three days of fighting.

Sixty-seven years later, the U.S. military is back on the tiny Pacific atoll just 80 miles north of the equator to search for the remains of Marines who never made it home.

Army Maj. Ramon Osorio says an 11-person team from the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command could find a couple hundred Marines.

The military has surveyed Tarawa since the war ended but not on this scale.

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