WWII Marine from Oelwein to be buried at Arlington

WASHINGTON DC - OCTOBER 16: Rows and columns of US soldier's tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC on Oct. 16 2012.

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) – A U.S. Marine from Oelwein who died fighting a World War II battle on a Pacific Ocean island is scheduled to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington on Monday, the 73rd anniversary of his death.

Pfc. Wilbur Mattern, who was 23 when he died, had been unaccounted for since the Aug. 21, 1943, battle on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, located 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii.

Family members say they believed he had floated out to sea and would never be found.

However, the nonprofit Florida-based History Flight Inc. found a burial site on Betio island in June 2015 recovering the remains of 35 Marines. Dental comparisons and other evidence identified Mattern’s remains.

About Chris Berg 3647 Articles
Chris was born and raised in Webster City, IA. As a young kid, he would always be caught singing along to songs on the radio. He says he's good at karaoke but we think otherwise. ;) In his free time, he enjoys beginning new projects at home and hardly ever finishing them. Chris lives in Charles City with his wife Vicki and a daughter Brynlee.