OKLAHOMA CITY – A member of America’s greatest generation is headed back home 70 years after he died serving his country.
Corporal Claire Goldtrap, 21, was killed in the Pacific during World War II. Now, his family is bringing his remains home to Oklahoma.
The remains of the Marine who died in the Pacific Theater during WWII returned to his home state with all the ceremony an American hero deserves.
“It brings it all home. It just makes it real… Now, we can close a chapter, and we can bring him home and we can lay him to rest next to his mom,” great-niece JoLynn Anderson said.
Goldtrap died November 20, 1943 during the Battle of Tarawa.
The small chain of islands were important to both American and Japanese air forces. More than 1,000 Americans were killed and 2,000 wounded during the fierce fighting.
Originally, Goldtrap was buried where he died; in 1946, the military moved the unidentified remains to Honolulu, reburying them at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. But, in 2016, the government disinterred the body and, using DNA and dental records, identified the remains.
On Tuesday, Goldtrap came back home.
“It’s great, it closes a chapter in my family’s life,” Robert Goldtrap said.
Robert is not only Goldtrap’s great nephew. He’s also his fellow Marine, with ten years of service under his belt. His great-uncle’s story means the world to him.
“He was a tractor driver of an amphibious assault vehicle. He was the second tractor to land on D-Day. A mortar hit right at the tractor cab, the driver’s cab, which killed my great uncle instantly. We are all family; I would never leave family behind,” Robert said.
Those same sentiments were heard from the current-day Marine reserves on hand to escort the remains to the final resting place in Hobart.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine so – no matter how long it took – we make sure he got home safely. You won’t be left behind,” Staff Sergeant Michael Blumenberg. said.