Long-Lost Tarawa Marine Comes Home at Last
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced in March that the remains of a U.S. Marine, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and returned to his family.
Private Harry K. Tye, 21, of Orinoco, Kentucky, was buried with full military honors on 28 March in Arlington National Cemetery. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly—celebrated Marines themselves—were in attendance for the ceremony. As one relative of the deceased told The Washington Post, “I think my grandma would be unbelievably and eternally grateful for this.”
In November 1943, Tye was assigned to Company E, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Tye died on the first day of battle, 20 November 1943.