Remains of Galveston Marine killed in WWII recovered for burial

Justin G. Mills
Justin G. Mills (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

HOUSTON – A Marine from Galveston who was killed during World War II in the South Pacific will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on April 29.

Marine Corps Reserve 1st Lt. Justin G. Mills was killed on Nov. 20, 1943, the first day of a battle against the Japanese on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands.

Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Mills was killed on the first day of the battle. His remains were reportedly buried in the Central Division Cemetery, and later to the Lone Palm Cemetery on Betio Island.

To identify Mills’ remains, scientists used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists used mitochondrial DNA analysis. For more on these identification efforts, read the full news release about Mills’ identification from the U.S. military.

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