A 20-year-old U.S. Marine who was killed in action 74 years ago during World War II is finally coming home and will be interred in his family's burial plot on Saturday with full military honors.
A 20-year-old U.S. Marine who was killed in action 74 years ago during World War II is finally coming home and will be interred in his family’s burial plot on Saturday with full military honors. The positive identification of Private 1st Class Donald Ross Tolson’s remains in September 2017 brings long-awaited closure for surviving family members. Tolson attended grade school in Laredo, about 30 miles northeast of Chillicothe, during the 1920s and ’30s. He was killed in the amphibious assault on the Pacific Atoll of Tarawa. The battle took Nov. 20-23, 1943, when the U.S. began its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by seizing the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. An estimated 1,000 U.S. Marines and sailors were killed in the brief battle and more than 2,000 wounded. Tolson’s remains are scheduled to arrive shortly after noon today at Kansas City International Airport. The U.S. Marines are accompanying the remains from Hawaii. There will be a stop in Atlanta, Ga., before arriving at KCI. Tolson’s cousins, Judy Klinginsmith (the closest surviving relative of Tolson), of Chillicothe, and Zella Whitney, of Trenton, will be among several other family members present on the airport’s apron when Tolson’s plane lands. The Marines and the Patriot Guard will escort the casket to Mt. Moriah, Newcomer and Freeman Funeral Home, in Kansas City, Mo., an estimated 30 miles from the airport. The Patriot Guard also will have a contingency awaiting the casket’s arrival at the funeral home and be present at the graveside on Saturday. The U.S. Marine Detail will take care of the graveside services and provide military honors, according to Ben Ortiz, a Dignity Memorial Celebrant and disabled Vietnam veteran. The graveside service is at 2 p.m. Several dignitaries and representatives of veterans groups will be in attendance, according to Ortiz, including the adjutant general from the national headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Tolson’s obituary is printed below.
Recovery of hero's remains brings closure for family 74 years after death
Obituary of Private 1st Class Donald Ross Tolson