The Department of Defense announced Monday that a soldier missing in action since World War II has been located.
According to a statement, the remains of Marine Pfc. James B. Johnson will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, on May 31. The Poughkeepsie, New York marine, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.
Johnson, according to officials, died sometime on the first day of the Battle of Tarawa, which took place on November 20, 1943. Johnson’s battalion took place in a landing at Betio, in the Tarawa Atolls of the Gilbert Islands, and reportedly encountered stiff Japanese resistance. The area where Johnson’s battalion landed is now a part of the country of Kiribati.
The Battle of Tarawa, according to officials, killed approximately 1,000 marines and sailors, but eventually resulted in a U.S. Victory.
According to defense officials, service members who died during the Battle of Tarawa were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island, and remains recovery operations on Betio were done between 1946 and 1947. Johnson’s remains, however, were not recovered, and was declared by a military review board to be non-recoverable on February of 1949.
According to the statement, a nongovernmental organization by the name of History Flight, Inc. notified the DPAA in June 2015, that a burial site on Betio was discovered, and the remains of what they believed to be 35 U.S. Marines who fought in the battle were recovered. The remains were turned over to the DPAA in July 2015. DNA from Johnson’s remains, according to officials, matched a nephew, and the remains were identified using a variety of analysis.