Sept. 8, 2016 —
Marine Pfc. Pfc. Nicholas J. Cancilla, killed in World War II, has now been accounted for.
In November 1943, Cancilla was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 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. Cancilla died on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943.
In late 2012, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, now DPAA, conducted a mission to Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, to investigate an area previously identified by a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., as a site for recovery of possible American remains from the November 1943 battle. During this investigation, the team recovered the remains of three individuals from an area previously identified as Cemetery 25.
Lab analysis, in conjunction with the totality of circumstantial evidence available, established Cancilla's remains were included.
Interment services are pending.