Pvt Herman Fred Sturmer Jr.

Pvt Herman Fred Sturmer Jr.

Birth
Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 18)
Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Burial Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 70491008 · View Source
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PVT HERMAN F. STURMER, JR., USMCR, 506490, KIA 20 NOVEMBER 1943

As part of the strategic goal of securing the Marshall Islands during World War II, U.S. forces were ordered to secure the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Island chain in late 1943. From 20-23 November 1943 the U.S. Marine 2nd Division and the U.S. Army 27th Infantry Division landed on the small Tarawa island of Betio (pronounced Bay-zo) against stiff Japanese resistance. Over several days of intense fighting, approximately 1000 Marines were killed and over 2000 others were wounded. Among those reportedly Killed In Action on Betio on 20, November 1943 was Private Herman F. STURMER, Jr., of F Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

On 20 November 1943, the 2nd Marine Division assaulted the beaches of Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll to seize possession of the island as part of Operation GALVANIC. Over the next three days, the landing force waged battle, suffering a high rate of casualties while accomplishing their objective. Private Herman F. STURMER, Jr. left the USS Heywood with the amphibious party during the first waves of the attack assigned to land at Red Beach 3.1. This landing location was to the east of the long shipping pier. The shallow waters of the coral ringed island and the fierce resistance of the Japanese defenders led to high numbers of U.S. casualties, with many of the men cut down before reaching dry sand. By nightfall, despite some advances to and across the airfield, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8) held a slender foothold between the Burns-Philp Wharf and the long shipping pier.

In 2002 a construction crew working in what is now the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced KIRR-i-bas), found human remains on the Tarawa island of Betio. Military equipment found with the remains suggested that the burial was that of an American serviceman from World War II. A Peace Corps volunteer assigned to Kiribati contacted U.S. Government representatives about the discovery of possible human remains that may belong to a U.S. service member who fought during the assault on Tarawa in 1942. The information was relayed to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, that held responsibility for recovery and identification of service members from past conflicts. Christopher Monahan, a civilian anthropologist returning from a recovery mission in Papua New Guinea, diverted to Kiribati and collected the remains discovered during construction work on the property of Kiribati Shipping Services, Limited.

Private Sturmer was identified on 8 April 2011 through DNA testing and dental records. Private Sturmer was escorted to his home town of Spokane, Washington where he was laid to rest with full military honors, next to his parents, at Spokane Memorial Gardens. Hennessey Smith Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.


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  • Created by: Memory Maker
  • Added: 28 May 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 70491008
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt Herman Fred Sturmer Jr. (1 Jul 1925–20 Nov 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 70491008, citing Spokane Memorial Gardens, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Memory Maker (contributor 46821539) .