PFC Charles Edward Oetjen

PFC Charles Edward Oetjen

Blue Island, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 18)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 163431579 · View Source
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Charles Oetjen was the youngest of 2 and only son born to Blue Island natives Edward & Hilda (Sieg) Oetjen.

Charles didn't graduate from Blue Island, now Eisenhower, High School because on February 27th, just days before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Marines.

The kid from Walnut Street who loved basketball and baseball shipped out soon after, first to San Diego, California for basic at Camp Elliott, then to New Zealand to prepare for his first battle.

PFC Charles Edward Oetjen was with this brothers in the 8th Marines (E/2) 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 Charles - just 18 years old - perished. For almost 72 years, he remained buried on that island where he and so many of his brothers-in-arms fell; however, PFC Oetjen was recovered by History Flight in May of 2015. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Oetjen’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a cousin; laboratory analysis, including dental and anthropological analysis and chest radiograph comparison, which matched Oetjen’s records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

On July 30, 2016, Charles was laid to rest at First Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery next to his parents and grandparents.

Link - Remains of Blue Island Marine killed in WWII to be returned (Chicago Tribune/Daily Southtown, 27 May 2016)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 28 May 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 163431579
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Charles Edward Oetjen (7 Mar 1925–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 163431579, citing First Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .