PFC Sam John “Sammy” Kourkos

PFC Sam John “Sammy” Kourkos

Birth
Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas, USA
Death 22 Nov 1943 (aged 20)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas, USA
Memorial ID 110316196 · View Source
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NARA War Department records list his Next of Kin's Home of Record as Parents: Mr. and Mrs. John Kourkos, 1013 West Myrtle Street; Independence, Kansas.

May 19, 2017
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
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Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Sam J. Kourkos, has now been accounted for.

In November 1943, Kourkos was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against 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 days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Kourkos died sometime on the second day of battle, Nov.21, 1943.

The remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu in October 2016.

Laboratory analysis was used in the identification of his remains.

Interment services are pending.
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PFC Sam John Kourkos was with his brothers in Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division when they landed on Betio. Their mission was to secure the island in order to control the Japanese airstrip in the Tarawa Atoll; thereby preventing the Japanese Imperial forces from getting closer to the United States, and enabling US forces to get closer to mainland Japan.

It was the 21st of November, 1943 (D-Day+1 for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Sammy - just barely 20 years old - perished.

In October 2016, Sammy's remains were exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu; he had been buried as an "Unknown". Laboratory analysis was used in the identification of his remains.



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  • Maintained by: Wayne & Janet (Proctor) Brawner
  • Originally Created by: Judy Mayfield
  • Added: 10 May 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 110316196
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Sam John “Sammy” Kourkos (7 Nov 1923–22 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 110316196, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Wayne & Janet (Proctor) Brawner (contributor 47163288) .