WWII Veteran Hero Who Died in Combat 76 Years Ago to Finally be Laid to Rest on Saturday

© Department of Defense William Edward Brandenburg

Private first class William Edward Brandenburg was only 17 when he died fighting in the Pacific during WWII.

Patricia Moore didn’t know her Uncle William, but she certainly remembers her mother, Mae Black, talking about him all her life. The family was from New Miami, Ohio.

Bradenburg was Black’s youngest brother and he enlisted in the Marines on November 27, 1942. He was only 16 at the time. That meant he had to lie on his enlistment forms so he could join the war effort.

When the Battle of Tarawa began on November 20, 1943, Brandenburg was there. On the second day of battle, as he was leaving a landing ship on the island in the South Pacific, he was killed in action.

Moore said she was told he was hit with a missile.

The Defense Department says more than 1,000 US troops were killed during the battle. They were buried where they fell, or put into a mass grave in a large trench.

For years, Moore says her mother called any veterans group she could find in hopes of trying to locate his remains. After all the calls, year after year, Black finally found some success.

About eight years ago, a group took their DNA to be tested against remains that had been recovered and brought back to Hawaii.

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SOURCE: CNN, Paul P. Murphy