The remains of a Marine killed in a key battle in the Pacific during World War II have been identified those of as Pfc. Joseph F. Boschetti of Philadelphia 75 years after his death.
Boschetti was killed on Nov. 20, 1943, at age 23 in a battle on the island of Betio in Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, now part of the nation of Kiribati, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday. He was from Manayunk, The Inquirer reported in a 1944 death notice, and served as a member of Company A, First Battalion, 18th Marine Regiment, Second Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.
Known as the Battle of Tarawa, it resulted in the deaths of about 1,000 U.S. service members and the wounding of more than 2,000 others. Ultimately, U.S. forces emerged victorious from the three-day fight, gaining a platform in the Gilberts from which they were able to launch campaigns on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance the war effort against Japan.
Following the end of World War II, in September 1945 the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company began recovering remains of soldiers killed on Betio, but did not initially identify Boschetti’s remains. In 1949, remains not identified in the effort were interred unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
In January 2017, a set of remains known as Tarawa Unknown X-020 was disinterred and was found to be that of Boschetti this July. The agency said it identified Boschetti’s remains through anthropological analysis bolstered by DNA analysis conducted by scientists at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.
Boschetti’s name appears on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl. Now that he has been identified, a rosette marker will appear next to his name, indicating that he has been accounted for.
There are more than 72,000 World War II service members who remain unaccounted for. The remains of about 30,000 are considered to be possibly recoverable, the agency said.