- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - The remains of a Marine killed in a World War II battle on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean will be returned to Webster County for burial this week alongside his parents and other relatives in Fort Dodge.

The remains of Pvt. Palmer S. Haraldson will be buried on Wednesday - more than 70 years after he was killed during an assault on the island of Betio, where Japanese forces had an airfield, according to the Fort Dodge Messenger (https://bit.ly/28IniU6 ).

“I guess I feel really good about this finally coming to a conclusion and Palmer coming home,” said one of Haraldson’s nieces, Carolyn Moore Redding, of San Clemente, California.

Haraldson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Aug. 12, 1912, and grew up in Webster County, Iowa. In 1937, he moved to Glendale, California, where he and his wife, Patricia, were married. They didn’t have children.

He enlisted in the Marines in April 1943 and after basic training was sent to New Zealand. His company soon was among those assigned to invade the Tarawa Atoll, where the Japanese had built an airfield on Betio. Haraldson died Nov. 22, 1943, and was among about 1,100 Marines buried in temporary graves.



A combination of poor record keeping and reconstruction on Betio prevented the recovery of most of the remains, but the Marathon, Florida-based group History Flight Inc., which helps recover America’s war dead, began working at Betio in 2006. The group located a burial site at the island in 2011 and started excavating in 2015.

Moore Redding said a relative saw a television report about the excavation, prompting her to go to the group’s website. She found a list of 36 Marines who had been unofficially identified through dental records, including Haraldson. The remains later were confirmed through DNA in Hawaii.

Haraldson’s remains will be buried with full military honors at Memorial Park Cemetery, where his relatives are buried.

“I believe it’s important to all of us to have this closure,” Moore Redding said.

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Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net

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