I’d be surprised if any time is taken out from studying social justice warfare for school children or even college students to study the history of WWII other than to denounce the U.S. for dropping the A-bomb.

So the Battle of Tarawa atoll likely means nothing to them. But to the generation that fought WWII and their relatives, and those of us who actually were taught history in school, the term Bloody Tarawa is bone chilling:

Most of the Americans killed were gunned down on the beaches during the amphibious landing:


Here is one hero’s recollection of the battle:

When you consider the human cost on both sides to liberate just one tiny atoll, it puts the decision to use the A-bomb to end the war in perspective. But if you never learned about Bloody Tarawa, or any of the hundreds of similar battles, it’s easy to be judgmental.

George Traver was one of the Marines killed on Bloody Tarawa. His remains were never found. Until recently. Associated Press reports:

The remains of a U.S. Marine killed in a World War II Pacific battle nearly 73 years ago have been identified and will be returned to upstate New York for burial.

The Times Union of Albany reports military officials identified Pfc. George Traver using dental records and his Boy Scout pocket knife, found with his buried remains on the island of Tarawa. The 25-year-old from Chatham in Columbia County was killed when Marines landed on the heavily defended Japanese-held atoll in November 1943.

His remains were among those of 35 fallen Marines discovered in May 2015 by the Florida-based group History Flight.

A flight carrying Traver’s remains is scheduled to arrive in Albany Aug. 26. He’ll be buried two days later next to his mother’s grave in Chatham.

NBC13 in Albany (NY) adds details as to how the family learned the news:

A family is getting set to plan a funeral for a loved-one killed in a battle in the Pacific during World War II. It’s actually the second time they planned a funeral. The first one – in 1944 – was called off when the remains of George Traver were not found. This time, they have been and will be delivered on Friday, August 26, to Albany International Airport.

“This is for all the other families that have lost their men and stuff,” said George Traver, nephew of the late PFC George Traver. “And I think if my uncle was here he’d say the same thing.”

George Traver, the Marine, joined up just a few weeks after the bombing at Pearl Harbor. He was hurt in Guadalcanal and sent that Purple Heart to his girlfriend, Marge, writing in a letter to his mother.

“He wrote to my grandmother and said I received the purple heart and I’m sending it to Marge to put in our war collectibles,” said his nephew.

The second Purple Heart came after he was killed, November 20, 1943, part of the first wave of Marines on Betio Island of Tarawa in the Pacific. More than 1,000 Marines died in those days. His nephew David Silliman went to several meetings to learn about missing soldiers and in May, a Marine assigned to his case told him “we identified your uncle in February. Wow. All these years. Growing up as little kids, old enough to think, I started thinking about my uncle. And then later on, well, why can’t we bring him home?”

Welcome home Pfc. Traver.


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