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SGT George R. Reeser

Unit:A Company 1st Marine Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment
Location of Recovery:Betio, Tarawa, Gilbert Islands (Modern Day Kiribati)
Date of Loss:November 22, 1943
Status:ACCOUNTED FOR / Recovered by History Flight 2019


On March 27, 2020, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Sergeant George R. Reeser, missing from World War II.

SGT. Reeser joined the U.S. Marine Corps from Chicago, Illinois and served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. He was killed in action on November 22, 1943, during the 2nd Marine Division’s invasion of the Japanese-held Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands. He was reportedly buried in Cemetery 33 on Betio. After the close of World War II, Graves Registration personnel recovered the remains of U.S. service members buried on Betio; however, SGT Reeser’s remains were not among those recovered. In 2009, the non-profit organization History Flight located Cemetery 33 on Betio. History Flight began excavating the area around Cemetery 33, leading to the recovery of remains in 2019 from a previously undiscovered burial trench west of the cemetery. DPAA was eventually able to identify SGT Reeser from among these remains.

To identify Reeser’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

Reeser’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific along with the others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Reeser will be buried Sept. 26 in Deer Creek, Illinois.


DPAA Press Release

New Story

A Company 1 -6 USMC New Zealand 1943
Sgt. George Reeser
Cpl. James K. Draman
Cpl. Jet R. Fore, Jr. (WIA Tarawa)
Cpl. Henry G. Cloughtery

Cpl. James C. Weber
Sgt. John L. Housley
Cpl. Pierre M. Costello
Cpl. Francis J. Modde (WIA Tarawa)
PFC Richard W. Fowler
Front Row: Sgt. George Reeser, Cpl. James K. Draman, Cpl. Jet R. Fore, Jr. (WIA Tarawa), Cpl. Henry G. Cloughtery
Back Row: Cpl. James C. Weber, Sgt. John L. Housley, Cpl. Pierre M. Costello, Cpl. Francis J. Modde (WIA Tarawa), PFC Richard W. Fowler, Johnston