Aug. 10, 2016 —
Marine Pfc. Wilbur C. Mattern, killed in World War II, has now been accounted for.
In November 1943, Mattern was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed a 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 day of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Mattern died on the second day of battle, Nov. 21, 1943.
In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle.
Lab analysis, in conjunction with the totality of circumstantial evidence available, established Mattern’s remains were included.
Interment services are pending.
Welcome home and rest in peace, Pfc. Mattern.