DYKER HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- U.S. Marine Private Joseph C. Carbone was only 18 years old when he left his home in Brooklyn, joined the US Marines, and shipped off to the Pacific where he gave up his life fighting the Japanese military on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.
On Friday, with proper military escort, his body will return to his native home, 74 years after his death. The small Central Pacific atoll was a bloody resting place for some 1,692 American and 4,690 Japanese soldiers killed during a 3-day battle in November 1943. On Saturday, the fallen marine will receive a proper funeral at the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Dyker Heights and then a military burial at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.
Carbone's funeral service will be attended by family members who never met the young marine but lovingly knew him. His memory was kept alive by conversations and prayers by his mother and family. His remains were found among hundreds of the fallen after a chance discovery. A WWII era B-24 plane's prop was spotted by Dr.Patrick Scannon, an American doctor vacationing on the island. Dr. Scannon later formed a nonprofit search and recovery program he named the 'BentProp Project' which got its name from the propeller he found on the Tawara Atoll.
Carbone's remains were identified through the DNA sample sent by his niece, Nancy Lewis, who tells Eyewitness News that the positive identification was bittersweet. Ms. Lewis regrets that her grandmother, who died a few months ago, did not live to see her beloved brother laid to rest.
Rest in Peace, US Marine Carbone, you made the supreme sacrifice, you served proudly.
Fallen WWII Marine comes home to New York