PFC Joseph Francis Boschetti

PFC Joseph Francis Boschetti

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 23)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Cheltenham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 203905187 · View Source
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Marine Corps Reserve Private First Class Joseph Boschetti, missing from World War II, will be laid to rest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 30, 2019.

Born November 12, 1920 in Philadelphia, Joseph Francis Boschetti was the 3rd of six children blessed to the union of italian immigrants Rosario and Julia (Fantacone) Boschetti.

On April 17, 1942, Joseph enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves at the local Philadelphia office. He completed training at Parris Island and was later stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico and Camp Elliott before shipping out into the Pacific Theater from San Diego.

Joseph Boschetti’s first taste of combat was in the “Battle of Guadalcanal” of the Solomon Islands. The boys were then sent to Wellington, New Zealand for some R&R and to await word of their next mission

PFC Boschetti was with his brothers in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion of the 18th Marines (A-1-18) 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 Joseph – barely 23 years old – perished.

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. Joseph was reportedly buried in Cemetery 26. However, when the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, Joseph’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 (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, including one set, designated as Tarawa Unknown X-020.

Left to mourn his passing were Joseph's parents and siblings; Nicholas Philip, Christine, Mary, Peter Charles, Eleanor and Rosario "Russ".

In late November of 2014, Joseph's baby brother, Russ - now 81 years old - was found and put in contact with the Marine Corps POW/MIA Section through whom he lovingly submitted his DNA praying that one day his big brother would be found.

On Jan. 9, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-020 from the Punchbowl and on July 29, 2019, the DPAA identified Joseph Francis Boschetti using anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis from his brother, Russ.

Relatives and friends are invited to Viewing on Saturday, November 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 146 Rector St., Philadelphia PA. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Interment is in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Joseph’s name is permanently inscribed on Court 2 of the "Courts of the Missing" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific's Honolulu Memorial (55923366, a cenotaph). A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate Joseph is not longer missing.

Jennifer Morrison, forensic genealogist
Marine Corps POW/MIA Section
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)

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  • Created by: JSMorrison
  • Added: 16 Oct 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 203905187
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Joseph Francis Boschetti (12 Nov 1920–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 203905187, citing Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by JSMorrison (contributor 47978427) Burial Details Unknown.