ALL NEWS

Utah Marine’s remains finally returning home after 76 years

Nov 11, 2019, 5:19 AM | Updated: 5:48 am

Follow @kslmrichards...

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — A family is preparing to lay a Marine to rest, 76 years after he was killed in action in World War II.

Pfc Robert James Hatch is coming home after his remains were finally recently identified.

One headstone memorializes brothers Clyde Eugene Hatch and Robert James Hatch. They were killed 8 months apart: Gene in Guam, and Jim in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Gene’s remains were sent home, but Jim was declared non-recoverable in 1949.

Tom Hatch knows him as Uncle Jim, though he never knew him at all. Jim was only 21 years old when he died in November 1943, It was a 3 and a half day battle, where about 1,000 marines and sailors were killed.

“Uncle Jim was killed almost immediately trying to set up a machine gun. My grandmother had 3 soldiers who witnessed it go visit her after the war. A soldier whose letter is part of the military record, states he saw him buried in a grave with other men,” explained Tom.

Mrytle Hatch wrote to the military, hoping they could find her son.

“She died in 1979, 40 years after that last letter without satisfaction,” said Tom about his grandmother. And then Tom’s father Alvin Hatch died in 2007, still not knowing where his younger brother was.

But recently a group called History Flight, using cadaver dogs and other technology, searching in that area, discovered a trench with skeletons. Defense Department scientists then used dental, anthropological, and chest radiograph comparison analysis on the remains.

This September, the family got a phone call. They had identified Jim.

“So we are looking at from his death in 1943 until now, 76 years to get him home,” said Tom.

The military is flying the remains home on December 12. A Marine Corp service will be held December 14 at the Bountiful City Cemetery.

Tom said the military offered to bury Marine PFC Robert James Hatch in Arlington National Cemetery, and he paused and choked up when he said, “We felt it most appropriate for him to come home to Bountiful.”

Home to where he grew up, on a farm in Woods Cross with three sons who all enlisted after Pearl Harbor — home to where his family is.

“You can see from the headstones, he’ll be 5 feet away from his parents, 7 feet from his older brother, and 12 feet from grandfather,” pointed out Tom.

Tom says his father Alvin never talked about his 2 brothers dying in the war, it was too painful. And he knows it was painful for his grandmother never to have Jim come home. He also recently learned Jim was engaged to be married before he left.

“It gives me satisfaction knowing he is coming home,” he said.

Listen below as Tom Hatch talks about his Uncle’s death, disappearance, and discovery.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

FILE - A skier turns through the trees at Powder Mountain. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)...

Mariah Maynes

Strong winds cause ski lift holds, Powder Mountain cancels day skiing March 2

Powder Mountain announced that day skiing will be closed tomorrow following strong winds. The announcement came as resorts across the state experienced impacted lift operations due to the gusts. 

10 hours ago

(Utah State Capitol.  Photo: Paul Nelson)...

Mariah Maynes

Gov. Cox not planning to veto any 2024 legislative session bills

As the 2024 Utah legislative session draws to a close, Gov. Cox said he is not planning to veto any bills. 

11 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a Republican campaign ...

WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Haley says she raised $12M in February, can’t point to long-term plan to beat Trump

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Friday that she raised $12 million in February, a haul that will likely allow her to remain in the Republican primary against former President Donald Trump past next week's Super Tuesday — even though she can't point to an upcoming state where she expects to beat him.

11 hours ago

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Lawmaker talks about arming school workers, despite studies saying guards don’t prevent gun violence

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

14 hours ago

Chief of Police for Price City Police Department, Brandon Sicilie, holding PeeDee....

Britt Johnson

Abandoned puppy finds a home at the Price Police Department

PeeDee, a puppy found on the side of a roadway during a dispatch call, has found a new home with the Price City Police Department.

16 hours ago

great salt lake shown, a bill to preserve the lake has passed...

Adam Small

Utah Legislature passes massive bill aimed at helping Great Salt Lake

This bill subjects mineral extraction companies to the same rules as every other water user in Great Salt Lake Basin.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Utah Marine’s remains finally returning home after 76 years