PFC Michael Leo Salerno
Cenotaph

PFC Michael Leo Salerno

Birth
Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 19)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing, Court 4 (Recovered)
Memorial ID 56121259 · View Source
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Killed in action at Betio, Tarawa atoll, while serving with Company K, Third Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
PFC Salerno's remains were identified from among the unknowns buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on 27 October 2018.

U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Michael L. Salerno, killed in action during World War II, was accounted for on Sept. 27, 2018.
In November 1943, Salerno was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 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 (the Battle of Tarawa). 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. PFC Salerno died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. His next of kin was listed as his mother, Mary Salerno, 1901 Fuller St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Marine Accounted For From World War II (Salerno, M.)
Release No: 18-263 Dec. 17, 2018WASHINGTON —The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Marine Corps Pfc. Michael L. Salerno, 19, of Philadelphia, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Sept. 27, 2018.In November 1943, Salerno was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 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. Salerno died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.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 Salerno’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 Tarawa Unknown X-267.On Jan. 30, 2017, DPAA disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-267 from the NMCP for identification.To identify Salerno’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, 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.

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Pennsylvania.

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  • Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56121259
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Michael Leo Salerno (26 Mar 1924–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56121259, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by CWGC/ABMC (contributor 6) .