Indiana Marine buried 75 years after death in Pacific battle
MARION, Ind. (AP) — A U.S. Marine killed in the Pacific in World War II has been buried in Indiana, 75 years after his death.
Fred Evert Freet was an 18-year-old private when he was killed during a battle on Betio in the Gilbert Islands — now known as Kiribati — on November 20, 1943. Without his remains, Freet was officially declared killed in action in 1949.
Freet’s remains were among those found on Betio in 2015 by History Flight, a nonprofit that searches for servicemen and women who are missing in action.
Freet’s half brother, Roger Covey, who was just 4-years-old when Fred left for the war, said he had received a letter “saying they were giving up. They weren’t going to look anymore.” But then, Freet’s remains were found.
Freet was identified in August using dental records and by matching DNA with his surviving relatives.
“They wanted my DNA,” said Bill Freet, who never met his Uncle Fred. “They were finding these guys and found Fred in 2015.”
Bill Freet and Covey attended Thursday’s service at the Marion National Cemetery, and Covey was given the American flag that draped Freet’s casket as recognition of his family’s service and sacrifice to the U.S.
Freet was recognized with a Purple Heart medal among other honors during his funeral.