Kansas Marine killed during island battle in WWII identified

SILVERDALE, Kan. (AP) — The remains of a Kansas Marine who died in World War II fighting in the Gilbert Islands have been identified.

U.S. Marines Corps Reserve Pfc Raymond Warren was 21 when he was killed in 1943 during the Battle of Tarawa. After his burial site was discovered in 2015, his nephew, Warren Cooper, of San Diego, and his niece submitted mouth swabs, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced this month that his remains had been identified, in part through DNA.

Cooper said his mother and uncle grew up on a farm in Silverdale, around 8 miles (12.87 kilometers) east of Arkansas City. “Just kinda a normal life up until WWII started,” Cooper said.

Warren, who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, is eligible to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and a flyover during the burial.

“We figured that enormity of the sacrifice and the great honor it is to be buried at Arlington tipped that in the (direction) of him being buried there,” Cooper said.