Huge Hat Tip to my pal John Ruberry and the great Trevor Jensen of the Chicago Tribune.
Sad to report that another wonderful man who fought for America and returned to help build the greatest age of prosperity in human history has gone home to Christ - Brian J. Quirk Sr., 1922-2010.
Mr. Quirk was a public relations man who had fought all over the South Pacific as one of Carlson's Raiders - a Marine Raider.
Mr. Quirk took part in the great raid on Makin Atoll in 1942 and returned to Makin almost 60 years later* to help recover the bodies of buddies lost in that heroic fight - 'No one gets left behind or forgotten.'
Mr. Quirk was one of the guys who helped build, finance and market La Lumiere School in La Porte, IN. La Lumiere School is the alma mater to his son Brian Quirk, Chief Justice John Roberts, Director Paris Barkley, Comedian Jim Gaffigan. Colonel Quirk went on ahead and when he returned there was always a crowd following in his wake. Len O'Connor of NBC News was attracted to La Lumiere School and decided to send his sons there and soon La Lumiere Football scores became news worthy. Col. Quirk got in and out before anyone knew he had been there - He was a Marine Raider.
Col. Quirk tried to teach me my chops when I was tasked to become La Lumiere School's Director of Development. "Hickey, think smart. That means bring everything that is needed and then go back and ask everyone involved what is not needed - pretty soon you will figure it out. Lead from the front, but take a glance back and see if anyone is following you - you will get a pretty clear picture of things up close to the action, but remember you had better have good people covering your back."
This sweet, tough guy is missed. God Keep You Young!
Click my post title for links to Marathon Pundit and the great Trevor Jensen of Chicago Tribune.
WWII MARINE RAIDERS IDENTIFIED, RETURNING HOME
The remains of 19 World War II Marine Raiders killed in action on Butaritari Island (Makin Atoll) and listed as missing in action since August 1942 were recently identified, and will be returned to their families for burial.
The remains are those of:
Capt. Gerald P. Holtom, Palo Alto, Calif.
Sgt. Clyde Thomason, Atlanta, Ga.
FM1C. Vernon L. Castle, Stillwater, Okla.
Cpl. I.B. Earles, Tulare, Calif.
Cpl. Daniel A. Gaston, Galveston, Tex.
Cpl. Harris J. Johnson, Little Rock, Iowa
Cpl. Kenneth K. Kunkle, Mountain Home, Ark.
Cpl. Edward Maciejewski, Chicago, Ill.
Cpl. Robert B. Pearson, Lafayette, Calif.
Cpl. Mason O. Yarbrough, Sikeston, Mo.
Pfc. William A. Gallagher, Wyandotte, Mich.
Pfc. Ashley W. Hicks, Waterford, Calif.
Pfc. Kenneth M. Montgomery, Eden, Wis.
Pfc. Norman W. Mortensen, Camp Douglas, Wis.
Pfc. John E. Vandenberg, Kenosha, Wis.
Pvt. Carlyle O. Larson, Glenwood, Minn.
Pvt. Robert B. Maulding, Vista, Calif.
Pvt. Franklin M. Nodland, Marshalltown, Iowa
Pvt. Charles A. Selby, Ontonagon, Mich.
The Marines were members of the Marine Corps' 2nd Raider Battalion, killed during the August 17-18, 1942, raid on Japanese-held Butaritari Island, during which an estimated 83 Japanese soldiers were killed. Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson commanded the Raiders during the operation, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's son, Capt. James Roosevelt, was the operation's second-in-command. Ferried to the island by submarine and landing on and departing Butaritari by rubber boats, the Marines were unable to evacuate the bodies of their fallen comrades. With the assistance of island inhabitants, including a man who assisted in the burial of the Marines in 1942, a recovery team from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) uncovered a mass grave and excavated the remains in November and December 1999. That operation was preceded by an initial investigation in August 1998 and an unsuccessful recovery effort in May 1999. The U.S. Marine Raider Association provided invaluable assistance with firsthand information and documentation about their combat on Butaritari. In late 1999, the CILHI began an exhaustive forensic identification process, including the use of mitochondrial DNA, to confirm the identities of the Marines. Marine Corps officials, using historical military records and more modern search techniques, located the next of kin of each of the Marines.
Arrangements for the transportation and burial of the Marines are underway, in consultation with the families. The first burial is expected to be that of Cpl. Yarbrough in Sikeston, Mo. in December. Among the remains recovered are those of Sgt. Clyde Thomason, the first enlisted Marine awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II. The identification of these Marines contributes to the ongoing effort by the Department of Defense to locate and identify more than 88,000 American service members who remain missing in action from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.