The remains of a U.S. Marine from Silverdale killed in World War II have been identified, with burial to take place later this year at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 7 that the remains of Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren, 21, were accounted for on June 10, 2019.
The DPAA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense whose mission is to recover those listed as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action from all past wars and conflicts.
Warren’s remains were identified through mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA analysis performed by scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, as well as through anthropological analysis and an examination of circumstantial and material evidence performed by the DPAA, according to a press release from the agency.
A rosette will be placed next to Warren’s name where it is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, indicating he has been accounted for.
Warren will be buried on a date to be determined at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Warren’s home community of Silverdale is about six miles east of Arkansas City. He was born March 5, 1922, and his parents were Raymond and Dessa Warren, according to missingmarines.com.
According to the release, Warren was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed in November 1943 against stiff Japanese resistance on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands.
Through several days of intense fighting at Tarawa in an attempt to secure the island, around 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Warren died between the first and second day of battle, Nov. 20-21, 1943. He was reportedly buried in the Division Cemetery, which was eventually renamed Cemetery 27.
All American remains found on Tarawa were centralized at one cemetery in 1946 for later repatriation. However, almost half of the known casualties were never found.
No recovered remains could be associated with Warren, and in October 1949 a board of review declared him “non-recoverable.”
The nonprofit organization History Flight, Inc., notified the DPAA in 2015 that they had found a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the possible remains of American service members buried in Cemetery 27. The remains were added into the DPAA laboratory. The DPAA was assisted in this mission by History Flights, Inc., and the Republic of Kiribati, the release states.
Warren’s nephew, Warren Cooper of San Diego, Calif., told the CourierTraveler on Tuesday that the DPAA asked him and his sister to submit DNA samples around two years ago, in hopes of finding the relatives of soldiers killed in action. A little more than a year later, in summer 2019, the family was notified there had been a match between the samples and Warren’s remains.
Cooper said his grandparents and his mother, Warren’s younger sister, never spoke much about his uncle. It was too painful for them, particularly because they never received the body, Cooper said.
Warren being identified has brought the family “a great sense of closure,” Cooper said. “I wish my grandparents were alive to experience it,” he said.
Cooper said his uncle, a Silver Star recipient, will be buried will full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. on a date to be determined. Cooper said the funeral date depends on scheduling at Arlington and the arrangements for events related to it, such as scheduling of an aircraft flyover by the Pentagon.
Regarding the continued efforts to identify soldiers’ remains, Cooper said “it is a very nice and fitting thing for the government to do.”
CourierTraveler reporter Rebecca McCutcheon contributed to this article.