LAWTON, OK (TNN) - An American hero, who died in World War II and went unidentified for more than 75 years, is in his final resting place. Corporal Claire Goldtrap was given a proper burial with full military honors in Hobart.
Cpl. Goldtrap was part of an amphibian tractor battalion. He was 21-years-old when he was killed in 1943 after his battalion landed against strong Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands.
He was originally buried but in 1946 the military moved the unidentified remains back to Honolulu, reburying them at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. From there, Goldtrap’s remains were exhumed, and officially identified in June using D-N-A analysis and dental records.
He was finally laid to rest next to his mother, Wednesday, on what would have been his 97th birthday.
“He’s home now,” said Jo Lynn Anderson, Cpl. Goldtrap’s Great Niece.
It’s been 75 years in the making. A casket adorned with an American flag brings closure and comfort to Corporal Claire Goldtrap’s family.
“It means everything to be able to step in with my cousins because we’re all he has left and make sure the right things gets done for him,” said Anderson.
And although she’s not here to bear witness, his mother’s wishes have been carried out.
“She was my great grandmother and I never got to meet her, but I know she wanted him home,” said Anderson. “I read the letters she had written to the Marines asking, “Have you found him yet? I really want to bring him home.”
MSgt. Joshua Rothman had the privilege of escorting Cpl. Goldtrap all the way from Honolulu.
“I served with his great nephew, Robert Goldtrap, a few years back,” said MSgt. Joshua Rothman, U.S. Marine Corps. “We remained in touch and when he was notified that Cpl. Goldtrap was going to be brought home, he knew I was in Hawaii and reached out to me and asked me if I could be the escort and obviously it was an extreme honor.”
Veterans and service members from every walk of life paid tribute to Cpl. Goldtrap, including a fellow World War II veteran.
“I was in the Navy on a ship the whole time the war was going on, from 41 to 45,” said Joe Britton, WWII veteran.
Britton says he is touched by the support of so many who are honoring the ultimate sacrifice made. “I’m so proud that so many people are here,” said Britton. “I think this is great.”
“This is just an extremely special honor and I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” said MSgt. Rothman. “I’m glad the marine is back home where he belongs.”