PVT Harry Kay Tye

PVT Harry Kay Tye

Pike County, Kentucky, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Grave 11282
Memorial ID 177177024 · View Source
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Marine Pvt. Harry K. Tye, 21, will be buried March 28 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Harry was the middle child of 3 born in Orinoco, Kentucky to Fred Clay and Sarah Jane (Lake) Tye. In the early 1930s, the family moved to Gallagher, West Virginia where Mr Tye worked as a mine foreman for Kool Coal. Harry's sisters were Ruby (Tye) Siemizczko and Dolores Mae (Tye) Baldwin.

In November 1943, Tye was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed 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. Tye died sometime on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Tye’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Tye’s remains "Non-Recoverable".

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Tye’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, which matched a nephew; laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and anthropological comparison, which matched Tye’s records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.

PVT Tye's name is included among the Tablets of the Missing in Honolulu, Hawaii (56134067). A Rosetta will soon be placed next to his name signifying that he is now home.

News Articles -
Link - "A Marine comes home from the war after more than 70 years" Washington Post
Link - "73 years later, U.S. Marine buried at Arlington" WUSA9
Link - DPAA News Release

Photos -
Link - Washington Post
Link - DVIDS (9 Photos)
Link - DVIDS (13 Photos)
Link - DPAA Facebook page

  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 10 Mar 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 177177024
  • Randy Buckner
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT Harry Kay Tye (23 Jun 1922–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 177177024, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .