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Marine's remains to be buried today

Staff report

Gov. Steve Beshear ordered flags to half-staff today in honor of a World War II Marine whose remains were recently identified.

The burial for Marine Pfc. Randolph Allen of Rush in northeastern Kentucky will be at 11 a.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery. All state office buildings are directed to lower their flags to half-staff.

Beshear encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in lowering flags.

According to the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, Allen was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, which landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa atoll, to secure the island against Japanese resistance.

Over several days of intense fighting, some 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Allen was reported killed in action on Nov. 20, 1943.

U.S. service members who died were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries. During World War II, U.S. Navy combat engineers restructured the landscape to convert the island for use by the military.

In 1946, U.S. Army Graves Registration Service personnel attempted to locate all of the battlefield interments, but many of the burials could not be found.

In 2013, History Flight excavated what was believed to be a wartime fighting position on Betio. The group recovered five sets of remains with personal effects and military equipment. Out of the five, four were Japanese service members and one was a U.S. Marine.

To identify Allen's remains, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental and skeletal comparison, which matched Allen's records.

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