CHADRON, Neb. (KOTA TV) - A Chadron, Neb., Marine who died in the World War II Pacific Theater battle on Tarawa is finally coming home.
The remains of Sgt. Fae Verlin Moore, who was 23 when he was killed in the battle, were recovered along with 34 other remains by History Flight. History Flight is a nonprofit group whose mission is to research, locate and recover America’s missing in action from World War II.
Moore will be buried with full military honors at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, in the Beaver Valley Cemetery, on 478 Trail, which is off of Beaver Valley. The public is invited to honor Moore.
The Battle of Tarawa took place on Nov. 20-23, 1943, as American troops fought to capture the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. About 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed, with another 2,000 wounded. It has been called one of the bloodiest battles in the Corps history.
Moore was killed on the first day of battle and has been listed as missing in action for more than 70 years.
In June 2015, History Flight located and recovered Moore’s remains and the following month turned them over to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
History Flight also conducted genealogy research and provided the contact information necessary for the Marine Corps to reach out to the surviving family members.
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.
Since 2008 History Flight teams — including forensic anthropologists, geophysicists, historians, forensic odontologists, unexploded ordinance specialists, medics, a cadaver-detection dog and countless volunteers — have spent tens of thousands of hours searching for the “lost graves of Tarawa.”
History Flight works in cooperation with the DPAA. Their work has led to the recovery of over 200 servicemen in Europe and Asia – and over 100 positive identifications.