Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Remains of Wwii Soldier from North Side Identified 74 Years Later

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Remains of Wwii Soldier from North Side Identified 74 Years Later

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -Edwin W. Jordan didn't live to see his second day of battle. Assigned to the Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance in the Battle of Tarawa, the teenage Marine Corps private from Pittsburgh's North Side wouldn't last a day.

On Monday, 74 years after his battalion landed on the small island of Betio on the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, he will come to his final rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

His remains were recovered and identified late last year after an intense effort by the Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Mr. Jordan was only 17 when he died, having lied -with his father's help -on his enlistment documents, according to his niece, Nancy Erwin. Ms. Erwin grew up fascinated with the story of her brave uncle who died before she was born. She knew all about him from family stories and from research she did for a sixth-grade project on his service.

"He wanted to be in the Marines badly," said Ms. Erwin, 53. "My family has always been one to serve in the military going way back, so I consider it just a sign of the times" that he said he was old enough to join the war effort.

Mr. Jordan's parents and siblings are gone now, leaving only nieces and nephews to attend his burial at Arlington, where they had already had a memorial marker placed in 1997.

It gives them pause that Mr. Jordan's younger sister, Hester Heintzinger, who died in 1997, never knew about the memorial marker and now won't know about the recovery of his remains.

"The thing that bothered my aunt the most was that no one would know her brother ever walked the earth, and so I think now she would be very pleased that this is transpiring," Ms. Erwin said.

The agency first contacted Ms. Erwin's brother and cousin, who later phoned her with the news that her uncle's remains had been recovered. Then came the flood of emotions. "I was astonished, blessed, fortunate, thankful, sad, happy. The whole gamut of emotions."

The agency told them his remains had been buried in Tarawa just outside the boundaries of a known military cemetery. …

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