The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Marine Corps Pfc. Harry C. Morrissey, 27, of Everett, Massachusetts, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Aug. 28, 2017.
(This identification was initially published Jan. 11, 2018.)
On October 9, 1942, Morrissey was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, participating in a main offensive action in the Battle of Guadalcanal. After nearly two months of battle, the regiment completed their action. However, due to rapid unit movement, Marines who had been killed in action were buried hastily. Morrissey and two other Marines from his battalion were reportedly interred in graves atop Hill 73.
From 1947 through 1949, the American Graves Registration Service searched for isolated burials on Guadalcanal, but did not associate any remains with Morrissey. Based on the lack of information, Morrissey was declared non-recoverable.
In 2011, Yorick Tokuru, a resident of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, located possible remains near his home on the western edge of Skyline Ridge (Hill 73). A team of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force investigators excavated the site and turned recovered remains over to the state archaeologist. The archaeologist turned the remains over to John Innes, an Australian expert on the Battle of Guadalcanal, who in turn contacted the Joint POW/MIA Recovery Command (JPAC, the predecessor unit to DPAA).
On July 12, 2013, Ewan Stevenson, a Guadalcanal native living in New Zealand, contacted JPAC stating more remains had been recovered near the site of the 2011 recovery location.
On August 6, 2013, the remains were unilaterally turned over to JPAC for identification.
To identify Morrissey’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is grateful to Yorick Tokuru, John Innes, Ewan Stevenson and the Solomon Islands government and police force for their assistance in this recovery.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,648 service members still unaccounted for from World War II with approximately 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Morrissey’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Manila, Philippines, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family information, contact the Marine Corps Service Casualty office at (800) 847-1597.
Morrissey will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.