An October 6 burial has been scheduled for a Chadron Marine who died in battle during the peak of World War II.
23-year-old Sgt. Fae V. Moore was unaccounted for, but nearly 73 years later, his family has received an update on what happened that fateful day.
In November of 1943, Sgt. Moore was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. He and his division landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, but met stiff Japanese resistance.
Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed- and thousands more were wounded- but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Sgt. Moore died sometime on the first day of battle, November 20, 1943.
The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Moore’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Moore’s remains non-recoverable.
In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.
To identify Moore’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a nephew; laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and anthropological comparison, which matched Moore’s records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
Sgt. Moore will be buried in Chadron on October 6th with full military honors.