Fresno, California 2021-09-16 20:39:15 –
The wreckage of a World War II Marine is back in the South Valley-about 80 years after he died.
The 20-year-old senior soldier Royal L. Waltz went missing on November 20, 1943, on the first day of the Battle of Tarawa.
Until recently, his family wasn’t sure what had happened to him.
Waltz’s nephew Pete Hans said, “We grew up and praised him and thought they couldn’t find him when he wasn’t taking action.”
Waltz enlisted in 1941 and was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.
He survived the battle, but two years later he was one of the more than 1,000 Marines and sailors killed in the Battle of Tarawa.
His body was recovered by a non-profit organization a few years ago and later identified by DNA testing.
“It’s a shame that our parents and grandparents weren’t closed because they died in the war. It was only a few years later that he was actually declared missing because he kept looking for him in the hospital or somewhere else. They didn’t know, “said his nephew Donald Hans.
Months have been years, as his parents continued to write to the government and the US military asking for the whereabouts of their son.
“They were in limbo for several years hoping he would go home or find him. We didn’t expect that to happen,” Donald said.
Before joining the Marines, Waltz was born in Hanford in 1923 and attended Hanford High School until his family moved to the Central Coast town of Cambria.
He still calls the valley his hometown and has survived by many families waiting for the hero’s burial set later this month.
“It will be very emotional,” said Donald.
“I was very lucky and survived everything I did. To me he is my guardian angel,” said Pete Hans.
The funeral is scheduled for September 27th at Hanford’s First Methodist Church.
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Remains of World War II Marine from Hanford returning nearly 80 years later Source link Remains of World War II Marine from Hanford returning nearly 80 years later