|By Sgt. Otto C.
HICKAM AIR FORCE
BASE, Hawaii - Hawaii Marines helped close a chapter in the
story of the Makin Marines August 15, during a departure ceremony
Thirteen of the 19
Marine Raiders killed in combat were sent in flag-draped coffins for
burial in Arlington National Cemetery 59 years after their
deaths on the Makin Atoll. The other 6 Marine Raiders were
sent to their respective hometowns several months earlier for
individual burials, upon their family’s request.
Several guests attended
the ceremony, including guest speaker U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye
and Brig. Gen. John Castellaw, Deputy Commander, Marine Forces
“Fifty-nine years ago,
two companies of the 2d Raider Battalion staged a daring raid on
Makin Island,” said Inouye during his speech. “They succeeded
in their mission objectives. The raid also succeeded in
lifting the spirit of the American people. It revived our
nation’s patriotism and garnered support for our troops.”
Marines from MCB
Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay and Camp H.M. Smith stood in formation and
saluted as funeral details escorted all 13 coffins into the KC-130
Hercules from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.
Marine bagpiper 1st Lt. Justin Stodghill, set the mood with a solemn
rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and the Marine Forces Pacific Band
also played several musical pieces.
One family member,
Terilyn Stephens, a great-niece of Cpl. Robert B. Pearson, one of
the Makin Marines, was able to attend the ceremony. According
to Stephens, her grandfather, a Sailor, and Pearson, his brother,
fought in World War II at the same time. Stephens said her
grandfather and his sister are awaiting their brother’s return in
“It was an honor for me
to be here and represent my family,” said Stephens. “It’s
comforting to know that the military would go through so many
lengths to bring one of their lost ones home.”
“This ceremony today is
a testament that there is no statute of limitation on honor,” said
Sen. Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient. “It is never too late
to do what is right - to accord the proper accolades upon our heroes
who truly gave their all for the country they loved and died
defending her honor. A nation that forgets or fails to honor
her heroes is a nation destined to oblivion.”
The following is a list of the
Marine Raiders that were honored Aug. 15.
Sgt. Clyde Thomason, Atlanta, GA-a
Medal of Honor recipient
Capt. Gerald P. Holtom, Palo Alto,
FM1C Vernon L.
Castle, Stillwater, OK (Field Musician First Class)
Cpl. Daniel A. Gaston, Galveston,
Maciejewski, Chicago, IL
Cpl. Robert B. Pearson, Lafayette,
Pfc. William A.
Gallagher, Wyandotte, MI
Pfc. Kenneth M. Montgomery, Eden,
Pfc. John E.
Vandegerg, Kenosha, WI
Pvt. Carlyle O. Larson, Glenwood,
Pvt. Robert B.
Maulding, Vista, CA
Pvt. Franklin M. Nodland, Marshalltown,
Pvt. Charles A.
Selby, Ontanagon, MI
Top-Left-The remains of
thirteen Marines killed on Makin Island are boarded onto a KC-130
Hercules at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for transportation to
Washington D.C. where friends and family members await their return
for an honorable burial.
Top-Center-A funeral detail
transports one of thirteen Marines who died in combat on Makin
Island fifty-nine years ago. The ceremony took place at Hickam Air
Force Base, Hawaii August 15, 2001.
escorted by Maj. Chris Hughes, Public Affairs Office, Marine Corps
Base Hawaii, pays tribute to her great-uncle, Cpl. Robert B.
Pearson, one of thirteen Marines whose remains were returned from
Makin Island after fifty-nine years.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye spoke of great heroism and honor attributed
to the thirteen Marines whose remains were returned from Makin
Island after fifty-nine years.
John Castellaw, Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Pacific, speaks
during a repatriation ceremony held for the remains of thirteen
Marines from Makin Island at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii August
Bottom-Right-First Lt. Justin
Stodghill, training officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Support
Element Kaneohe, plays his bagpipes during a repatriation ceremony
held for thirteen Marines whose remains were retrived from Makin
Island after fifty-nine years. The ceremony was held at Hickam Air
Force Base, Hawaii on August 15, 2001.