CPL James Dimitri Otto

CPL James Dimitri Otto

Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Site 11025
Memorial ID 155315508 · View Source
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James Dimitri Otto was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania on November the 11th, 1923 to Catherine Ada Otto. The family moved to Los Angeles in the late 1920s and on June the 24th of 1941 - at the age of 18 - Jimmy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was off to Camp Elliott in San Diego, California for training. He would see action in American Samoa and Guadalcanal before arriving in New Zealand for R&R and to prepare for their next battle.

CPL Otto was with his brothers in Love Company, 3/8 of the 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. Over 3 days (76 hours) of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. It would be one of the bloodiest battles in Corps history.

On November the 20th, 1943 (D-Day for the Battle of Tarawa), young Jimmy - barely 21 years old - perished.

For nearly 72 years, CPL Otto remained buried on that island where he and so many of his brothers-in-arms fell; however, in June of 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered remains they believed to be CPL Otto’s. Those remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015. On December the 1st of 2015, the DPAA published a news release stating that he had been identified using laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which matched Otto’s records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

On December 8th, 2015, CPL James Dimitri Otto was returned to his family for burial at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

In memorial, California Governor Edmund G Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol.

* Link - Islander's Marine Uncle Gets Arlington Burial 72 Years After His Death (Island Moon Weekly, 22.Oct.2015)
* Link - Marine killed in WWII due to be buried Dec. 8 (Henryetta Free-Lance, 25.Nov.2015)


Nov 11 1922
Nov 20 1943

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 23 Nov 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 155315508
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for CPL James Dimitri Otto (11 Nov 1922–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 155315508, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .