Remains of Galveston Marine identified 76 years after WWII battle

Posted at 11:03 AM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 12:03:02-05

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Remains found on a tiny South Pacific island where a bloody World War II battle happened have been identified as those of a missing Marine from Galveston, a federal agency said Wednesday.

Justin G. Mills was only 25 years old when he died in the November 1943 Battle for Tarawa. The battle left about 1,000 U.S. Marines and sailors dead and more than 2,000 more wounded from fighting that stretched over four days. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says Mills died in the battle's first day.

The remains were found in 2015 on the tiny island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. The remains were turned over to the DPAA laboratory for genetic identification.

After 76 years, his remains have finally been identified.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are still over 70,000 unaccounted. A rosette will be placed next to his name at the National Memorial Cemetery to indicate he has been accounted for.

Mills is to be buried April 29 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.