PVT Alberic Maurice Blanchette

PVT Alberic Maurice Blanchette

Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 19)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, USA
Memorial ID 120176905 · View Source
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The remains of Marine Private Alberic Maurice Blanchette, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified after 74 years, and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Pvt. Blanchette was assigned to Company “B” 1st Marine Raider Battalion Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet and fought in the battle of Tulagi island, Savo Island and Guadalcanal. He was then assigned to the 3rd Battalion, Company “K” 2nd Marine Division, which landed with the first wave of Marines on Red Beach One 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.

Pvt. Blanchette only 19 years of age, died sometime on the first day of battle, November 20, 1943. In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, US service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In May 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the American Graves Registration Services (AGRS) had recovered 532 sets of remains from burial sites across the Tarawa Atoll and interred them in Lone Palm Cemetery. The remains that could not be identified were designated as “Unknowns.” In November 1946, the US Army began disinterment to bring the remains to Oahu for identification at the Central Identification Laboratory. In 1949 and 1950, the remains that could not be identified were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP – also known as the “Punchbowl”) in Honolulu.

In October 2016, due to recent advances in forensic technology, DPAA began the exhumation of unknown remains associated with Tarawa from NMCP and sent the remains to the DPAA laboratory for analysis. On 12 July 2017, Private Blanchette’s remains were Identified. To identify Private Blanchette’s remains, scientists from DPAA examined DNA, circumstantial evidence and conducted laboratory analyses, including dental, anthropological and chest radiography comparisons, which matched his records.

Private Blanchette is survived by a younger sister, Louann Rogers, of Louisiana. Numerous nieces and nephews. Other members of Pvt Blanchette's family who have died since he was listed as MIA include his parents, Benjamin and Albertine Sirois) Blanchette, and siblings; Iris McDonald, Ludger Blanchette and Ruth Dumond.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are over 73,000 service members still unaccounted for from World War II. Pvt. Blanchette’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the other MIAs from WW II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Private Blanchette will be returned to his home town and laid to rest next to his parents in Caribou on September 18, 2017 at 1 pm. A Christian Burial Ceremony and Internment will take place at the Parish of the Precious Blood, Holy Rosary Cemetery (old) with full military honors. The public is invited to attend the graveside ceremony. Arrangements by the Mockler Funeral Home, Caribou.
updated 7 Sep 2017

Alberic Maurice Blanchette served as a Private, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, US Marine Corps during World War II.

Alberic was declared "Missing In Action" in the Battle of Tarawa during the war. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

This memorial to Alberic was created by his family for a place to pay respects to Alberic in his hometown. There is an additional Cenotaph in the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

MIA Cenotaph: PFC Alberic Maurice Blanchette

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  • Maintained by: Dirigo 04736
  • Originally Created by: Sally - Midcoast Maine
  • Added: 11 Nov 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 120176905
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT Alberic Maurice Blanchette (31 May 1924–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 120176905, citing Holy Rosary Cemetery (Old), Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Dirigo 04736 (contributor 48500020) .