PFC James Bernard Johnson

PFC James Bernard Johnson

Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 19)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Grave 11212
Memorial ID 162426356 · View Source
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Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, James was the youngest of 3 born to Charles and Vera (Martin) Johnson.

On his first day of combat, Private First Class Johnson was with his brothers in the 8th Marines (Kappa/3) 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. It would become one of the bloodiest battles in the Corps history.

It was November 20th (D-Day for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young James perished.

For almost 72 years, PFC James Bernard Johnson remained buried - indeed, lost - on that island where he and so many of his brothers-in-arms fell; however, in June of 2015, James was recovered by a non-governmental organization, History Flight, which notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 36 U.S. Marines and Navy Corpsmen who fought during the battle.

On May 31, 2016, James was laid to rest on hollowed ground - in American soil - at Arlington National Cemetery.

PFC Johnson is also memorialized among the Tablets of the Missing in Honolulu (56112107).

Link - "Researchers: 139 WWII Marines entombed on atoll", USA Today (11/26/08)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 10 May 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 162426356
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC James Bernard Johnson (21 Apr 1924–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 162426356, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .