On May 16, 2015, Marine Corps PVT Jack Marvin Redman, 20, killed in World War II, was finally laid to rest - in American soil - with full military honors.
Born November 17, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, Jack Marvin Redman was the oldest of four sons blessed to the union of Guy Edgar and Hazel Elizabeth (nee Martin) Redman.
Private Redman was with his brothers in Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marines (HQ-3/6) when they landed on Betio as part of Operation: GALVANIC. The mission of the 2nd Marine Division 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 23, 1943 (D+3 for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Jack - barely 20 years old - perished.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries. During World War II, U.S. Navy Combat Engineers, "SeaBees," significantly restructured the landscape to convert the island for use by the military. In 1944, it was reported that PVT Redman had been buried along with another service members on Betio Island - a temporary location chosen by his fellow Marines, the survivors of the battle, until the Fallen could be recovered and returned to their families.
Having a loved one away from home during the holidays is always trying; however, having a son or husband off fighting in the war left the whole family on edge. The fact that this battle took place just before Thanksgiving meant that most of the families, who had unknowingly earned their Gold Star, would receive their heart-wrenching telegrams on Christmas Eve – some Christmas Day or even New Years Day.
For his service and sacrifice, Jack's parents accepted his awards and decorations, including:
- Purple Heart
- Combat Action Ribbon
- World War II Victory Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Medal
- Marine Corp Expeditionary Medal, and
- Gold Star Lapel Button.
Also left to mourn his passing were siblings, Hobert Lyman Redman, Eugene Delos Redman and Merrill Redman. (Hobert and Eugene were also in the serving in the Marine Corps at the time.)
Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in 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 1947, the Army Grave Registration Service (AGRS) recovered remains from the island for repatriation, but Redman's remain were not recovered. The remains that AGRS were unable to identify were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP, known as "The Punchbowl"), in Honolulu, Hawaii.
His family had a memorial marker placed at GAR Cemetery, in Watseka, Illinois, in hopes that Jack would one day be found and returned home.
In 2011, researchers were able to determine PVT Redman was not buried as an UNKNOWN at the NMCP and believed his remains may still be on Betio. In 2013, the Department of Defense analysts located what was believed to be Jack's grave. In September 2014, while the DoD team was excavating the suspected burial site, a local villager turned over a fragment of remains recovered nearby. This aided the team in pinpointing the location of Redman's gravesite.
On December 20, 2014, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (now the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) officially identified PVT Redman and his family soon received a call from the Marine Corps POW/MIA Section with the good news. In the identification of his remains, JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including dental and skeletal comparisons, which matched Jack's enlistment records, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which matched his brother's.
Jack was finally returned to his family and, on May 16, 2015, laid to rest at GAR Cemetery, in Watseka, Illinois, with full military honors
Marine Corps Private Jack Marvin Redman is memorialized among the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific's Honolulu Memorial. Although he has now been recovered and identified, MGYSGT Redman's name shall remain permanently inscribed within Court 4 of the "Courts of the Missing". A rosette has been placed next to his name indicating that Jack has finally been found (56113951, a cenotaph).
Marine Corps POW/MIA Section
DPAA Release No: 15-028 (May 8, 2015)
American Battle Monuments Commission
Jennifer Morrison, independent volunteer forensic genealogist
Sponsored by Ancestry