Newly identified remains of WWII Marine heading home

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Lt. Bonnyman finally heading home.

HONOLULU (AP) — The recently identified remains of a Marine hailed for his bravery in battle are heading home 72 years after he was killed on a remote Pacific atoll during World War II. The Marine 1st Lieutenant’s remains were identified just last month after a team from History Flight, Inc. discovered a burial site on Betio Island in the Pacific, according to a release from the State Department of Veterans Services. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman died at age 33 while leading Marines against entrenched Japanese forces during a three-day fight for the strategically important island of Tarawa in 1943. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1947, but his remains weren’t found until earlier this year by a nonprofit organization called History Flight that has been searching for the remains of missing servicemen. He then crawled more than 40 yards in front of their line to place explosives in front of a Japanese fortification. “Withdrawing only to replenish his ammunition, he led his men in a renewed assault, fearlessly exposing himself to the merciless slash of hostile fire as he stormed the formidable bastion, directed the placement of demolition charges in both entrances and seized the top of the bomb-proof position, flushing more than 100 of the enemy who were instantly cut down, and effecting the annihilation of approximately 150 troops inside the emplacement,” the citation reads.

Bonnyman’s family plans to lay him to rest Sunday at the same Knoxville, Tennessee, cemetery where his parents were buried. “I feel I’m carrying on that mission that they started in 1944,” Clay Bonnyman Evans, Bonnyman’s grandson, said of his great-grandparents. “Here we are in 2015. Marines and 30 sailors died, Bonnyman led his troops over a pier to the beach, where they attacked installations and a bombproof shelter that was protecting about 150 Japanese soldiers. Approximately 1,100 Marines were killed in the three-day battle and more than 2,000 were wounded. “Lieutenant Bonnyman’s extraordinary valor and leadership have been shared all over the country for decades, and we are grateful to finally welcome home this hero and iconic Tennessean,” Gov.

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