PFC Clarence Ell Drumheiser

PFC Clarence Ell Drumheiser

Coalinga, Fresno County, California, USA
Death 22 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Plot SECTION 94 SITE 398
Memorial ID 194753546 · View Source
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Clarence was born February 27, 1922 in Coalinga, California to Malcolm Clarence & Delcia Ella Mae "Ella" (Salsman) Drumheiser. Along with Annelee Laura and Nellie Helena from his mother's first marriage, Clarence had an older brother, Malcolm Donald, as well as younger sisters Betty Thelma and little "Sally".

On February 10, 1942, the nearly 20-year-old Clarence enlisted in Los Angeles and trained in San Diego. The 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment - previously based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina - relocated there during March 1942 and were reassigned to the 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. In the fall of '42, Clarence deployed with the 1/6 to Wellington in New Zealand for further training and to prepare for their first battle.

The 6th Marines landed at Guadalcanal on 4 January 1943 where it was briefly reunited with the 2nd and 8th Marines. The 6th Marines, fighting as part of a temporary Army-Marine division after the bulk of the 2nd Marine Division departed, participated in the final American offensive on Guadalcanal advancing from Kokumbona to Cape Esperance and eliminating the last remaining enemy forces. The 6th Marines suffered 223 casualties (53 killed in action or died of wounds, 170 wounded in action), during its six weeks on the "Canal". Those who were able returned to Wellington for some R&R and to await their next orders.

PFC Drumheiser was with his brothers in Delta Company of the 1/6 when they landed on Betio. They faced stiff resistance from the Imperial Japanese Forces 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.

It was November 22nd (D+2 of the battle) when young Clarence - just 21 years old - perished.

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 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 Drumheiser’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.

In October 2016, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-025 from the NMCP for identification.

Marine Corps Pfc. Clarence E. Drumheiser, 21, of Fresno, California, accounted for on March 26, 2018, was finally returned to his baby sister and laid to rest on December 7, 2018 with burial with full military honors.

To identify Drumheiser’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis, anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in this mission.

Drumheiser’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

DPAA Release No: 18-204 (Nov. 15, 2018) - Stated "December 8 in Prairie View, Texas" in error.

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 15 Nov 2018
  • Find A Grave Memorial 194753546
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Clarence Ell Drumheiser (27 Feb 1922–22 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 194753546, citing Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) Burial Details Unknown.