NORWOOD, Ohio — The remains of a 19-year-old Marine from the Cincinnati area who was killed during World War II have been identified, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Harold W. Hayden, of Norwood, Ohio, was accounted for on March 30, 2020, according to the DPAA.
Hayden was killed in November 1943 on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, after Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force landed against Japanese resistance in an attempt to secure the island, according to the DPAA.
Over several days, about 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Hayden died on the third day of battle on Nov. 22, 1943.
He was reported to have been buried in Row D of the East Division Cemetery, later renamed Cemetery 33, officials said.
In 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company centralized all of the American remains found on Tarawa at Lone Palm Cemetery for later repatriation. However, almost half of the known casualties were never found.
In October 1949, Hayden was declared "non-recoverable" by a Board of Review, officials said.
But in 2009, History Flight, Inc., a nonprofit organization, discovered a burial site on Betio Island believed to be Cemetery 33, which has been the site of numerous excavations.
In March 2019, excavations west of Cemetery 33 revealed a previously undiscovered burial site that has since been identified as Row D. The remains recovered at this site were transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, according to the DPAA.
Scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence, to identify Hayden's remains, officials said.
Hayden’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, officials said.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has not been determined, according to the DPAA.
A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for, according to the DPAA.