PVT Emmett Leonard Kines

PVT Emmett Leonard Kines

Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 24)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 60364515 · View Source
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Emmett Leonard Kines was born on June 27, 1919 in Grafton to West Virginia-natives, Jacob Howard and Jocia Miranda (Cox) Kines. He had two older siblings; Dakota Merle, who passed away in November 1915, and Claudis Sherman. By the time Emmet turned 15, the family had welcomed into their loving home Mary Virginia, Howard Virgil “Pete”, Betty Annalee, Walter Ross “Tunney” and, finally, Hazel Marie.

He loved working on the farm, hunting and fishing, he had a great sense of humor and was always pranking his siblings.

After graduating 8th grade in Grafton Public School, Emmett lived and worked on his uncle and aunt Sheridan and Hazel Cox's farm in Preston County for several years. Emmett and Claudis then worked on forestry and agricultural projects for 6 months with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Emmet then moved to live with his Aunt Bessie on Lost Run to help take care of his grandparents, Ella and Lenard Cox.

On November 4, 1942, the 23-year-old Kines made a trip to Clarksburg to enlist in the Marine Corps. Emmet trained Parris Island, SC and New River, NC. He would leave New River as part of 5th Replacement Battalion. Along with his unit, Emmett would eventually land in New Zealand to prepare for their first battle.

PVT Kines was with his brothers in the 8th Marines (Fox/2) of the 2nd Marine Division when they landed on Betio. Their mission 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 Corps history.

It was November 20th (D-Day for the "Battle of Tarawa"), when young Emmett - just 24 years old - perished.

Christmas that year was heartbreaking for the Kines family, as with it came word that Emmett had been killed in action. The family would lose Mr Kines in May of 1946, and on Mother’s Day - 6 days later - Jocia decided to place a memorial marker placed next to Jacob at Woodsdale Memorial Park in honor of their boy who’d given his life for his country. Mrs Kines would later receive a Purple Heart and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, both awarded to Emmett posthumously. In June of 1990, Jocia would have a military memorial marker placed as well, in section MA, site 2 of the West Virginia National Cemetery. She would pass within the next 3 years.

For more than 71 years, PVT Emmett Leonard Kines remained buried - indeed, lost - on that island where he and so many of his brothers-in-arms fell; however, in June of 2015, PVT Kines was found by a non-governmental organization, History Flight, which notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 36 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle.

In July of 2016, the family of PVT Kines finally received the call that they never expected - Emmett had been found. That word would reach the world a few weeks later.

Three years after Hazel gave a DNA sample in hopes of finding her big brother, the only surviving Kines child, Betty will be there to welcome Emmett back to Grafton; one of the earliest cities to observe Memorial Day and the town where Mother’s Day was founded.

On September 19, 2016, PVT Emmett Leonard Kines will finally be laid to rest in American soil with full military honors!



Gravesite Details Also on Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial and has a memorial marker at the Woodsdale Memorial Park at Pruntytown, West Virginia. He originally had a memorial marker at the West Virginia National Cemetery at Section MA Site 2.

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  • Created by: ShaneO
  • Added: 20 Oct 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 60364515
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT Emmett Leonard Kines (27 Jun 1919–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 60364515, citing West Virginia National Cemetery, Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by ShaneO (contributor 47009366) .