Nearly 76 years after paying the ultimate sacrifice for his country, the remains of World War II Marine Corps Platoon Sgt. George E. Trotter, of Kansas City, have been accounted for. The U.S. Defense Department’s Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) says Trotter, 38, was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.
On November 20, 1943, he was killed while taking on strong Japanese resistance on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting to secure the island, about 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. The agency says the Japanese soldiers were virtually destroyed.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in several battlefield cemeteries on the island. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company did remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Trotter’s remains were not identified.
All of the remains found on Tarawa were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory for identification in 1947. By 1949, the remains that had not been identified were interred as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, including one set, designated as Tarawa Unknown X-055.
On March 13, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-055 from the NMCP for identification. Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used DNA analysis to later identify the remains as Trotters.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. Currently, there are 72,698 service members still unaccounted for, of which approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable.
Trotter’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the NMCP, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Trotter will be buried August 9, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Copyright © 2019 · Missourinet