Please lend your support… to ask Congress to appropriate funds necessary to recover the remains of ALL 300-500 American MIAs still buried in unmarked graves on the Pacific island of Tarawa, site of one of WWII’s most horrific battles.
The Battle of Tarawa – “Bloody Tarawa,” as it became known – was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, largely fought from November 20-23, 1943. It was the first major amphibious assault on a Japanese stronghold in the Central Pacific during the Pacific War. All told, 1,113 Americans died and more than 2,300 other countrymen were wounded on the tiny island in 76 hours of fighting.
Leon Cooper, a United States Navy combat veteran of several WWII battles including Tarawa, discovered firsthand when he returned to the island nearly 65 years later that many disturbing conditions exist where the remains of several hundred American MIAs still lie neglected and forgotten. He learned there is still live ammunition scattered everywhere on the densely populated island, and that huge piles of garbage lie on Red Beach, the hallowed ground where hundreds of Marines and other members of the Armed Forces were killed and wounded.
Deeply disturbed by what he saw while back on the island in 2008, the veteran dedicated his life to cleaning up the beaches as a means of honoring both his country and the many American servicemen who perished on the battlefield. He also has targeted U.S. governmental support to repatriate the remains of his fallen comrades while it is still possible. His story was covered in the award-winning documentary “Return to Tarawa: The Leon Cooper Story,” by filmmaker Steven C. Barber of Vanilla Fire Productions, available to be viewed online in its entirety free of charge at: http://www.hulu.com/watch/74507/return-to-tarawa.
Cooper’s efforts resulted in a mission to Tarawa by JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) in 2010 to recover MIAs. The mission of the dedicated young men and women of JPAC in Tarawa was documented in new Steven C. Barber sequel documentary premiering Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, “Until They Are Home (www.untiltheyarehome.com).
However, since the remains of hundreds of American MIAs are still buried on the island, Cooper is now championing a national campaign to influence U.S. government officials to finish the mission in Tarawa and honor America’s promise to bring the remains of all these fallen U.S. servicemen back to their families.
Additionally, Cooper believes the U.S. government should fund JPAC to repatriate not only the remains of the hundreds of Tarawa dead, but also the remains of the tens of thousands of American dead who lie elsewhere, in unmarked graves, in old battlefields in the Pacific. Cooper has set up a non-profit corporation – MIAs You Are Forgotten, Inc.—a 501(3)c charity that is set up to receive charitable donations. These contributions will help provide the funds needed to produce a film series about these honored members of the “Greatest Generation,” hopefully leading to the recovery of many more MIAs. Information about donations can be found at www.returntotarawa.net.
Call To Action
Please stand with WWII veterans like Leon Cooper by signing this petition as a means of asking Congress to allocate necessary funding for JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command), so that ALL of the remains of these brave American heroes who died in the Battle of Tarawa can finally be brought home.
Thank you for your support and patriotism!
Dear [Your Congressman or Senator],
We strongly urge you to bring the remains of 300-500 WWII MIAs back from the island of Tarawa where they lie in unmarked graves covered in litter and trash.
These Marines and other members of the Armed Forces fought in one of the bloodiest amphibious battles in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Their remains now lie in graves that are desecrated by refuse and live ammunition, neglected and forgotten.
[your comments here]
We call on U.S. government officials to finish the mission in Tarawa and honor America’s promise to bring the remains of all these fallen U.S. servicemen back to their families.
Please allocate necessary funding for JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command), so that ALL of the remains of these brave American heroes who died in the Battle of Tarawa can finally be brought home.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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