SGT Dwight Wade Randall

SGT Dwight Wade Randall

Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 22)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Memorial ID 194713237 · View Source
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On November 20, 2018, Marine Corps SGT Dwight Wade Randall, 22, killed in World War II, was finally laid to rest in American soil with full military honors.

Born and raised in Fresno, Dwight Wade was the 5th of 10 children born to John Lee and Lillian (Oldfield) Randall. Dwight had two older brothers and sisters (Walter Dean, John Lee, Reba Alva and Bessie) and 5 younger siblings (Stacy James, Edythe Lorane, Erma Lee, Ebba Jean, and Richard Allen).

Dwight enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 22 January 1942 in Los Angeles, California.

Sergeant Randall was with his brothers in Charlie Company of the 2nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion 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 20, 1943 (D-Day for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Dwight - just 22 years old - perished.

Dwight's mother placed a memorial marker in Section D of Liberty Veterans Cemetery in Fresno (22460280, a cenotaph).

SGT Randall was among more than 1,000 Marines and Sailors killed during that battle, so many of which were declared non-recoverable after the war. Lost in foreign soil, this Marine was listed as Missing In Action for more than 70 years.

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. 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. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Randall’s remains were not identified. All of the remains found on Tarawa were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory for identification in 1947. By 1949, the remains that had not been identified were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP, known as the "Punchbowl"), in Honolulu, including one set, designated as Tarawa Unknown X-162.

On March 27, 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-162 from the NMCP for identification.

On September 13,, 2018, the DPAA officially announced that SGT Dwight Randall had been accounted-for. To identify Randall’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis, dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

Dwight Wade Randall was laid to rest on the 75th Anniversary of the day he perished on Tarawa – November 20, 2018 next to his family in the Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno, California with full military honors.

Although Marine SGT Dwight W Randall has now been recovered and identified, his name shall remain permanently inscribed within Court 4 of the "Courts of the Missing" at the NMCP's Honolulu Memorial (56119872, a cenotaph), along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette has been placed next to his name to indicate Dwight is no longer missing.

Marine Corps POW/MIA Section
DPAA Release No: 18-190 (Nov. 7, 2018)
DPAA Recent News & Stories (Oct. 23, 2018)
American Battle Monuments Commission
Jennifer Morrison, independent volunteer forensic genealogist

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 13 Nov 2018
  • Find a Grave Memorial 194713237
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SGT Dwight Wade Randall (20 Jan 1921–20 Nov 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 194713237, citing Belmont Memorial Park, Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .