Marine Corps PVT Edwin Harold Vancil, 19, killed in World War II, remains unaccounted-for.
“Private Vancil was with his brothers in Charlie Company of the 2nd Tank Battalion when they landed on Betio as part of Operation: GALVANIC. The mission of the 2nd Marine Division was to secure the island in order to control the Japanese airstrip in the Tarawa Atoll; thereby preventing the Japanese Imperial forces from getting closer to the United States, and enabling US forces to get closer to mainland Japan. It would become one of the bloodiest battles in the Corps history.
“It was November 20, 1943 (D-Day for the “Battle of Tarawa”), when young Bud – just 19 years old – perished. He was reportedly soon buried in Cemetery #17 on Betio Island – a temporary location chosen by his fellow Marines, the survivors of the battle, until the Fallen could be recovered and returned to their families.
“Having a loved one away from home during the holidays is always trying; however, having a son or husband off fighting in the war left the whole family on edge. The fact that this battle took place just before Thanksgiving meant that most of the families, who had unknowingly earned their Gold Star, would receive their heart-wrenching telegrams on Christmas Eve – some Christmas Day or even New Years Day.
“For his service and sacrifice, Bud’s family accepted the Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation.” Read more
+ Podcast Episode 53 – Two Heroes Buried Side By Side; But Only One Came Home – History’s Military Mysteries – Missing in Action featuring the Case of Private Edwin Vancil