Remains of World War II Iowan to pass near Perry Tuesday

Long thought lost, the native Iowan's remain to be interred 73 years after his death

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Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard finish folding the American flag that was draped over U.S. Air Force Capt. David A. Wisniewski's casket during his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Aug. 23, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gina Chiaverotti-Paige

Perry residents will have the opportunity next week to honor a soldier killed in action in World War II but only now receiving military funeral rites.

The Patriot Guard Riders will conduct an escort Tuesday, June 21 for U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. Palmer Sherman Haraldson, whose remains were recovered on a remote island and are to be interred in Fort Dodge.

The procession will not pass through Perry but will pass near the town, according to Wayne Anderson of the Patriot Guard Riders. Anderson said the remains of Haraldson will leave the Des Moines International Airport at 11:30 a.m. and travel west on Iowa Highway 141 and then turn north on U.S. Highway 169.

Everyone in the area in invited to line the route and show their respect for an Iowan who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his country.

Haraldson grew up in Vincent, Iowa, and enlisted in the Marines in 1943. He completed basic training in San Diego, Calif., in April 1943 and in July left for New Zealand, where he joined Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines in October in preparation for the invasion of Tarawa.

The capture from the Japanese of Betio Island on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands was considered essential to the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet’s Central Pacific Campaign.

Heraldson was killed while his unit was attacking a Japanese stronghold on Betio Island Nov. 22, 1943. The island was secured the following day, and the majority of the assault force departed Betio Island Nov. 24, leaving behind a small number of personnel to care for the dead.

The dead were buried in temporary graves until the end of the war, when the U.S. began recovery operations in March 1946. Due to bad record keeping and massive reconstruction on the island, only 532 of the 1,100 graves were found. Haraldson’s remains were declared non-recoverable at that time.

In March 2015, after years of research, Mark Noah, director of History Flight Inc., a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to finding, recovering and repatriating America’s war dead to U.S. soil, announced the discovery and recovery of the remains of 36 Marines, including the remains of Palmer Haraldson.

Ceremonies for Haraldson will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 21 with a rally and briefing at the Des Moines International Airport at the service gate at the south end of the complex. The escort will then travel the 95 miles to Bruce Funeral Home, 923 First Ave. S. in Fort Dodge.

An honor mission will be conducted Wednesday, June 22, with a noon rally and briefing at the Bruce Funeral Home, followed by interment at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Fort Dodge.

1 COMMENT

  1. Our sincere condolences go to the family of this fallen comrade. American Legion Post 85 will be present to welcome and honor this World War II veteran with the hope he rests in honored glory as we would with one of our own.

    Respectfully,

    Mike Kelley, Commander
    American Legion Post 85
    Perry

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