Marine Missing From World War II Accounted For (Traver)
Marine Pfc. George H. Traver, 25, of Chatham, New York, will be buried August 28, in his hometown. In November 1943, Traver was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 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. Traver died on the first day of 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. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio, but Traver’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Traver’s remains non-recoverable.
In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.
To identify Traver’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a nephew; as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which matched Traver’s records.
DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.
As per my conversation yesterday with the Chief and David Silliman: 1. On Friday August 26 Peter Volkman will meet at our station to organize the contingent traveling to Albany International to meet the plane. The personnel involved should gather at the Firehouse no later than 9:30. Dave Chapman ( and another volunteer Tubsie) will drive 9 to the airport to meet the plane. Once organized, there will be a full police escort for the motorcade that will proceed from the airport to Chatham. Chapman and Tubbs will be the trail vehicle for the motorcade. 2. While they are enroute, Greeport's ladder as well as our ladder will extend their ladders to the apex and our American flag will hang between the extended ladders. As many as our members that are available will, in full dress uniform, position themselves in full view of the motorcade as it proceeds down Hudson Avenue. The estimated time of arrival for the motorcade is between 12:30 and 1:00. All members are encouraged to participate and it would behoove you to be at the firehouse by 12:15. Beyond the procession we will have concluded our responsibilities for Friday. 3. The wake is at Blasl's Saturday August 27 from 3-7:00. At this point, our members are welcomed to independently attend the wake, there is no formalized plan to attend collectively. Volunteers are needed on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.to set up for the reception to follow the funeral on Sunday. 4. Sunday August 28, the funeral will be at Saint James Church at 2:00. Once again, we are paying tribute to one of America's Greatest Generation who gave All! We encourage very member to gather at the firehouse at 1:30,in full dress, to process to St. James as a unit. Veterans are asked to meet at the American Legion Post 42 will march up with mass colors guard fittiing this once in a lifetime evernt. Our Color Guard has been requested as well. We all should accompany the American Legion Post 42 and other Color Guards from the area, to Cemetary Hill where Marine George Traver will be laid to rest. 5. A reception will follow at the firehouse. We will need volunteers to help the family in that regard. Please bring a covered dish to share. Thanks in advance for whatever you can do to help in this once in a lifetime patriotic event. Please join us in welcoming home Marine George Traver... May he finally rest in peace and give the family the closure that is so well deserved! Patrick
Chatham Fire Department
10 Hoffman Street
Chatham, New York 12037