PO William Horace Blancheri

PO William Horace Blancheri

Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 19)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Grave 11812
Memorial ID 199621803 · View Source
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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Navy Reserve Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class William Horace Blancheri, 19, of Los Angeles, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 14, 2018. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on June 3, 2019.
William was the youngest of 5 children born to the union of Louis Charles and Anna Gertrude (Fisher) Blanceri.

William enlisted in the Navy on August 14, 1941. He went to boot camp at NTS in San Diego, to Marine School at Camp Elliott, then overseas in January of 1943. He was stationed in New Zealand until shortly before the Tarawa action.

In November 1943, Blancheri was a member of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, 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.

On November 20th (D-Day for the "Battle of Tarawa), young William - just years old - perished.

Left to mourn his passing were William's parents and his four siblings: Genevieve Camille, Clyde, Lucille Jeanette and Louis Charles, Jr.

The battle of Tarawa was a significant 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. Blancheri was reportedly buried in Cemetery #26. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Blancheri’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) in Honolulu.

On Dec. 5, 2016, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-016 from the NMCP, and sent the remains to the laboratory.

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

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

Williams name is inscribed among the Tablets of the Missing at the Fort William McKinley in Manila (56754473, cenotaph). A rosette will be place next to his name indicated that he is now home.

Jennifer Morrison, genealogist
DPAA Release No: 18-264 (Dec. 17, 2018)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 31 May 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 199621803
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PO William Horace Blancheri (10 Aug 1924–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 199621803, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) .