Remains of WWII veteran return home

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WENTZVILLE, Ill. – A WWII veteran is being laid to rest after his remains were found in 2019.

Sergeant George Raymond “Bud” Reeser of United States Marine Corps, was killed in action Nov. 22, 1943 in the battle at Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands. He was 25-years-old.

Reeser was accounted for on March 27, 2020 and has been returned home as of Sept. 24.

Sgt. Reeser was born June 3, 1918 in Goodfield, Ill. His family later moved to Washington, Ill. where he worked at a local filling station prior to enlisting.

On Sept. 10, 1940, he entered into service at Chicago as a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, and Fleet Marine Force, achieving the rank of Sergeant.

With the 6th Marines, Reeser fought at Guadalcanal, and following leave in New Zealand, they were sent to secure Betio Island as part of the Battle of Tarawa.

After 76 of hours of battle from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, the Island was secured and 99 members of the 6th Marines laid down their life in battle, including Reeser. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his actions at Tarawa.

Records showed that he and 33 other Marines were buried in Row D of the East Division Cemetery, later named Cemetery 33. But in 1949, as repatriation efforts were concluding, his remains were officially declared non-recoverable.

According to the funeral home, Members of the public wishing to pay their respects to Sgt. Reeser may do so from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00pm Friday, September 25, 2020 at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Rural Deer Creek.

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