WWII veteran’s remains return to Indiana 76 years after his death in battle

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The remains of a World War II Marine on Thursday afternoon headed back home to Richmond, Indiana.

According to military officials, Pfc. Louis Wiesehan Jr. served on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Troops secured the island off Japan against Japanese resistance. Wiesehan died on Nov. 21, 1943. His remains were reportedly buried on the island. A board of review declared him nonrecoverable in 1949.

Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Wiesehan was killed on the second day of the battle.

Wiesehan wasn’t accounted for until September 2019, the Defense Department announced in January.

On Thursday afternoon, he received honors at the Indianapolis International Airport and then was escorted to a funeral home in Richmond.

Along the route, Greenfield authorities saluted Wiesehan, complete with a garrison flag, as his remains passed east of the Hancock County Courthouse.

According to his obituary, survivors include his niece, Patricia Manlief Wisehart of Shirley; nephews, David (Mary) Manlief of Mesa, Arizona, and Malcolm “Mac” (Ramona) Manlief of Aurora, Ind.; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and many great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.

Family and friends of Wiesehan will gather to honor his return home and to celebrate his life from 4-6 p.m. Friday at Doan & Mills Funeral Home, 790 National Road W., Richmond. A short service will follow at 6 p.m. A public funeral procession from the funeral home across the Main Street Bridge and along Main Street to Ninth Street will begin at noon Saturday and conclude with a graveside service at 1 p.m. Saturday at Goshen Cemetery, 3600 N. State Road 227, Richmond, with full Marine Corps funeral honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be given in memory of Pfc. Louis Wiesehan Jr. to History Flight Inc., 317 William St., Suite 1, Fredericksburg, VA 22401 or online at www.historyflight.com/donate/.

Pvc. Louis Wiesehan Jr. (Photo Provided/Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)