PFC Robert James Hatch

PFC Robert James Hatch

Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, USA
Death 22 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, USA
Plot B-1-NA-4-6A
Memorial ID 133413968 · View Source
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Marine Corps Reserves PFC Robert James Hatch, missing from World War II, will be laid to rest at Bountiful Memorial Park on December 14, 2019 with full military honors.

Born February 22, 1922 in West Bountiful, Utah, Robert James Hatch was the 2nd of three children blessed to the union of Clyde Alvin and Myrtle Irene (Butterfield) Hatch.

An Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a member of the West Bountiful Ward, “Jimmie” graduated from Davis High School and was a sophomore at Utah State Agricultural College, Logan, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 11, 1942 in Salt Lake City.

Private First Class Hatch was his division’s head machine gunner in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

PFC Hatch was with his brothers in Delta Company, 1st Battalion of the 6th Marines (D-1-6) when they landed on Betio as part of Operation: GALVANIC. The mission of the 2nd Marine Division 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 would become one of the bloodiest battles in the Corps history.

It was November 23rd (D-Day+3 for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Jimmie - just 21 years old - perished. He was reportedly buried in either an isolated burial or in Cemetery 33 on Betio Island.

Left to mourn his passing were his parents, older brother, Alvin Willard Hatch, and younger brother, Clyde Eugene Hatch. A Marine Corps Private himself, Clyde would fall at Guam the following year.

In 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company centralized all of the American remains found on Tarawa at Lone Palm Cemetery for later repatriation; however, almost half of the known casualties were never found. No recovered remains could be associated with Hatch, and in October 1949, a Board of Review declared him “non-recoverable.”

In 2014, History Flight, Inc., a nonprofit organization, identified a site correlated with Cemetery 33. Excavations of the site uncovered multiple sets of remains, which were turned over to Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in 2015. Using dental, anthropological, and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as material evidence, the DPAA officially identified Jimmie on September 23, 2019. Soon after his family was notified and on October 1, 2019, the DPAA announced that Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Robert J. Hatch, 21, of Woods Cross, Utah, killed during World War II, was accounted for.

Jimmie's family placed a memorial marker at Memory Grove Memorial in Salt Lake City, Utah in hopes that one day he would be found (131574747, a cenotaph).

PFC Robert James Hatch’s name is permanently inscribed on Court 4 of the "Courts of the Missing" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific's Honolulu Memorial (56110202, a cenotaph). A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate Jimmie is has finally been found.

Jennifer Morrison, volunteer forensic genealogist
DPAA Release No: 19-194 (Oct. 30, 2019)

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FEB.22,1922 NOV.22,1943

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 27 Jul 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 133413968
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Robert James Hatch (22 Feb 1922–22 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 133413968, citing Bountiful Memorial Park, Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .