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.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A pilot walked away uninjured after crashing a small plane near Durst Mountain in Mountain Green on...
Amie Schaeffer

Pilot uninjured in Mountain Green plane crash

A pilot walked away uninjured after crashing a small plane near Durst Mountain in Mountain Green on Nov. 27, 2022.
7 hours ago
U.S. First lady Jill Biden receives the official 2022 White House Christmas Tree at the White House...
Kate Bennett, CNN

First lady Jill Biden chooses ‘We the People’ as theme for White House holiday decorations

Biden will officially unveil the holiday decorations and make remarks on Monday alongside leadership of the National Guard and their families.
7 hours ago
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
Ben Morse and Wayne Sterling, CNN

Iran calls for US to be kicked out of 2022 World Cup after it changes Iran flag on social media to show support for protesters

Iran state media has called for the US to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation changed Iran's flag on its social media platforms to show support for protesters in Iran.
1 day ago
Authorities in Washington County are investigating the discovery of the body of a 36-year-old man e...
Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Southbound I-15 lanes in Washington County reopen following closure

Utah Highway Patrol reports the partial closure of a portion of southbound I-15 in Washington County. This comes after a trailer rolled Sunday evening.
1 day ago
major storm...
Samantha Beech and Keith Allen, CNN

Thousands of US flights delayed Sunday as major storm system hampers travel

A major storm across parts of the United States prompts the three major airports servicing New York City to urge passengers to arrive early for flights
1 day ago
winter storm...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT warns winter storm bringing roadway impacts

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning drivers that an upcoming winter storm will impact the road from 6 am Monday to noon Tuesday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Utah Marine’s remains finally returning home after 76 years