Battle of Tarawa 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

November 20, 2018 @ 11:30AM — 12:00PM

A special 75th anniversary ceremony marking the 1943 U.S. amphibious landing at the heavily fortified, Japanese-held island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

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On Tuesday, November 20th at 11:30 a.m., the Friends of the National World War II Memorial will host a brief ceremony and wreath presentation at the World War II Memorial's Pacific Arch to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Tarawa, the 1943 U.S. amphibious landing at the heavily fortified, Japanese-held island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

The November 20-23, 1943 Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive of the critical Central Pacific Campaign and the first time in the Pacific War that the United States faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. One combat correspondent soon after called it "the toughest battle in Marine Corps history."

The American invasion force was the largest yet assembled for a single operation in the Pacific, consisting of 17 aircraft carriers, 12 battleships, 8 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 66 destroyers, and 36 transport ships. On board the transports was the 2nd Marine Division and a part of the Army's 27th Infantry Division, for a total of about 35,000 troops.

The 18,000 U.S. Marines sent ashore were expected to easily secure the tiny island of Betio; however, low tides prevented some U.S. landing crafts from clearing the coral reefs around the island allowing Japanese coastal guns to bombard the vessels and forcing the Marines to wade toward shore –hundreds of yards away – through chest-deep water amidst enemy fire. Despite heavy resistance from the 4,500 well-prepared and well-supplied Japanese troops dug in on Betio, the Marines finally took the island after a 76-hour battle in which both sides suffered heavy casualties.

During the November 20th ceremony at the World War II Memorial, WWII veterans will present wreaths at the Pacific Arch of the Memorial in honor of the 35,000 Americans who served and in remembrance of the nearly 1,700 Americans killed and more than 2,000 wounded during the Battle of Tarawa.

If you are a World War II veteran, or know of one, who would like to participate in the
Battle of Tarawa 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the Memorial,
please email hrotondi@wwiimemorialfriends.org
!

We hope you'll join us on November 20th at the WWII Memorial!


The Friends of the National World War II Memorial's WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration is generously sponsored by AT&T.

Generous support has also been provided by the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation and Worthington Industries.

Event Location

National World War II Memorial
1750 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20024
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