Private Henry C. Verhaalen
A Man came Home 31 Years Later....
Submitted by Steve DeYoung
"In May, 1974, during construction of a new pipeline 200 yards inland from Red Beach 3, an interesting discovery was made. A gun mount from an LVT, there since the invasion in 1943, was sticking up out of sand posing a problem for the pipeline workers. As they unearthed the rusting metal to make way for the pipeline, they found an entire LVT in remarkably preserved condition. Further digging brought an amazing find: two Marine bodies and the following items 4 cases of 30 and 50 caliber ammunition, a box of spare parts, toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors and aspirin. All the items were almost perfectly preserved due to a round that had gone through the oil tank. The oil coated everything and helped preserve the skeletons and the other items. The dog tag on one soldier revealed him to be Private Henry C. Verhaalen, who was reported as MIA since the fighting took place. Unfortunately the other body did not have any identification on him, so he was unable to be identified. Upon removal of the bodies and the proper procedures taken, the LVT was reburied in its original position, with its gun mount sticking out of the sand marking its resting place. An interesting note is that even after all that work, the pipeline workers decided to reroute the pipe and leave the entire area the way they found it, and the way it was 31 years earlier."
source: After the Battle magazine.
The pipeline crew with the remains. Photo credit: Ken Butler
Thanks Steve for more great information!!
copyright 2001 T.O.T.W.
Created 26 June 2001