Private George Frank Patrick
Birth Date: February 13, 1921Death Date: November 20, 1943
Pvt. George Frank Patrick – 474918 – United States Marine Corps
February 13, 1921 – November 20, 1943
In November of 1943, Pvt. George Frank Patrick was a member of the Company D, 1st Battalion 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Division, which landed against heavy Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense combat, over 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed, more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Pvt. Patrick was killed on the first day of battle, November 20, 1943.
Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.
In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. The 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio between 1946 and 1947, but Patrick’s remains were not identified. All of the remains found on Tarawa were sent to the Schofield Barracks Central Identification Laboratory for identification in 1947. By 1949, the remains that had not been identified were interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
In March 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) disinterred Tarawa Unknown X-100 from the NMCP and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
To identify Patrick’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA analysis, which matched his family, dental, anthropological and chest radiograph comparison analysis, which matched his records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
DPAA is appreciative to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,948 service members (approximately 26,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable) still unaccounted for from World War II. Patrick’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the other MIAs from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.