PVT Edwin Francis Benson

PVT Edwin Francis Benson

Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 22)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 | Grave 11813
Memorial ID 200643363 · View Source
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Marine Corps Private Edwin Francis Benson, missing from World War II, was laid to rest on November 19, 2019 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Born on Halloween night, 1921 in Boston, Edwin Francis Benson was youngest of 3 children blessed to the union of Massachusetts natives Edwin Francis Aloysius and Mary (Murray) Benson. His older sisters were Mary Barbara and Marguerite Helen.

The 18-year-old joined the Marine Corps in his hometown on July 2, 1940. He later contracted malaria in Panama and was given the option to sit out the war. He chose to stay on active duty though.

Private Benson was with his brothers in Lima Company, 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Marines (L-3-2) 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 20th, 1943 (D-Day for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Edwin - just 22 years old - perished. He was reported to have been buried in the East Division Cemetery, which was eventually renamed to Cemetery #33.

Left to mourn his passing were his parents and sisters, Barbara Benson and Marguerite Argersinger.

Between 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio, but Benson’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 as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, including one set, designated as Tarawa Unknown X-155.

On Jan. 30, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-155 from the Punchbowl and on June 24, 2019 identified "Marine Corps Pvt. Edwin F. Benson, 22, of West Newton, Massachusetts, killed during World War II, was accounted for". To identify Benson’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.

Marine Corps Private Edwin F. Benson's name is permanently inscribed in Court 2 of the "Courts of the Missing" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific's Honolulu Memorial (56129014 , cenotaph). A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate Edwin has finally been found.

Jennifer Morrison, volunteer forensic genealogist
Marine Corps POW/MIA Section
DPAA Release No: 19-142 (Oct. 29, 2019)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 29 Jun 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 200643363
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT Edwin Francis Benson (31 Oct 1921–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 200643363, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) Burial Details Unknown.