May 19, 2017 —
Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Sam J. Kourkos, has now been accounted for.
In November 1943, Kourkos was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. 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. Kourkos died sometime on the second day of battle, Nov.21, 1943.
The remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu in October 2016.
Laboratory analysis was used in the identification of his remains.
Interment services are pending.
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