FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday, July 29, in honor of a Kentucky Marine killed during World War II and whose remains were recently identified.
Marine Pfc. Randolph Allen, of Rush, will be buried at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Gov. Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in lowering flags in tribute to Pfc. Allen on that day.
According to the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), Allen was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, which landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll, in an attempt to secure the island against stiff Japanese resistance.
Over several days of intense fighting approximately 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. As a result of these attacks, Allen was reported killed in action on Nov. 20, 1943.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries. During World War II, U.S. Navy Combat Engineers, or “SeaBees,” significantly restructured the landscape to convert the island for use by the military. In 1946 when U.S. Army Graves Registration Service personnel attempted to locate all of the battlefield interments, many of the burials could not be located.
In 2013, DPMO confirms a private organization known as History Flight excavated what was believed to be a wartime fighting position on the island of Betio. During this excavation, History Flight recovered five sets of remains, personal effects and military equipment. Four sets of remains were determined to be Japanese service members and the fifth set was believed to be that of a U.S. Marine. Two sets of military identification tags which correlated to Allen were also found in the fighting position.
In the identification of Allen’s remains, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental and skeletal comparison, which matched Allen’s records.
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