2LT George Stanley Bussa

2LT George Stanley Bussa

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 29)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Site 11883
Memorial ID 178711980 · View Source
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Born in Chicago on September 15, 1914, George Stanley Bussa was the oldest of 5 children blessed to the union of Andrew Sr and Clara Stanislava (Patt) Bussa. Soon after, their loving home would welcome Andrew Jr, Harry Leonard, William Robert and their baby sister, Evelyn.

In August of 1934, the 19-year-old Bussa boy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, trained in Parris Island, South Carolina and the following month was stationed at Marine Barracks Quantico. George was primarily with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Brigade at Quantico, with additional training stints on Cristóbal & San Clemente Island (both, via the USS Wyoming), at Camp L. M. Little in Culebra, Puerto Rico and at Camp R. P. Williams in Brentsville, Virginia.

In August of 1938, he was promoted to Sergeant before being attached to the General Service Unit, 9th Reserve District; later joining Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

After being transferred to Marine Corps Base San Diego, George met Miss Helen Lenore Walsh and they were wed at Christmas time, 1941. To this union was born George's only child, Jerilyn Ann, on September 9, 1942.

Platoon Sergeant Bussa shipped out into the Pacific Theater along with the rest of Kilo Company and, in April of 1942, were stationed at Tutuila, American Samoa.

The following October, PlSgt Bussa was aboard the USS Hunter Liggett, bound for the Solomon Islands. "After his platoon leader was evacuated for illness, Platoon Sergeant Bussa took command and personally led his platoon into action in the ravine west of Point Cruz and at all times fought bravely. Against heavy opposition the men under his leadership destroyed three enemy machine guns and other weapons. He accompanied the Company Commander and the Demolitions Officer into the enemy lines to locate targets. With the fire of his platoon he covered the demolition party while enemy positions were destroyed." For his valiant actions on 15 January 1943 in the Battle of Guadalcanal, PlSgt George Stanley Bussa was awarded the Silver Star.

Bussa and many of his brothers-in-arms were then sent to New Zealand for some R&R - and George received another promotion. There had been numerous letters home, photos of his baby girl, well-wishes and word of how his brothers faired abroad. Eventually, the time came to prepare for the next battle.

Second Lieutenant Bussa was with his brothers in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 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 advance their Central Pacific Campaign as they got closer to mainland Japan. 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. 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 George - just 29 years old - perished.

The Christmas that followed was particularly somber and painful as word reached home - to the young Mrs Bussa and her infant daughter in Los Angeles, and to Mr & Mrs Bussa in Chicago, with their other three sons also serving, and young Evelyn still in school.

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 Bussa’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 9, 1949, a military review board declared Bussa’s remains non-recoverable.

For more than 66 years, George Stanley Bussa was lost in the foreign sands where he took his last stand.

In June 2015, History Flight, Inc., a non-governmental organization, 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 found in a grave corresponding to where Bussa was believed to have been buried, and were turned over to DPAA in June 2016.

In May of 2017, Mrs Jeri Heise received a phone call from the United States Marine Corps POW/MIA Office. To identify Bussa’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, which matched his nephew, Robert Zalesky; dental analysis and anthropological comparison, which matched his records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

On October 10, 2017, George Stanley Bussa was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for their partnership in this recovery mission.

Bussa’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the NMCP (56116891), an American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery, along with the others killed or lost in WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Link - DPAA: News Release (03.Oct.2017)
Link - DPAA Recent News & Stories
Link - Silver Star Citation (Guadalcanal)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 24 Apr 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 178711980
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2LT George Stanley Bussa (15 Sep 1914–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 178711980, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .