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Marine killed 76 years ago in World War II is buried in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — A Marine killed in World War II has finally been buried in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that American flags and supporters lined the streets Saturday in Bountiful between a mortuary and the city cemetery, which was the final stop for Pfc. Robert James Hatch’s remains.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hatch and a younger brother traveled from Logan, where they had been studying at what was then called the Agricultural College of Utah, back to the family home in Bountiful to enlist in the Marine Corps.

Hatch survived the Marines’ campaign at Guadalcanal, then fought for three days against the Japanese on the small island of Betio.

He was killed there on Nov. 22, 1943, at age 21.

Hatch was buried on Betio Island and the U.S. military couldn’t find his remains when it returned to collect its dead in 1946.

The nonprofit group called History Flight returned to Betio decades later to search for the remains of Marines.

Human remains were found in a burial trench.

Scientists used dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparisons and other evidence to confirm Hatch’s remains were among those in the trench.

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