Private Palmer Sherman Haraldson
Private Palmer Sherman Haraldson, U.S. Marine Corps
August 12, 1912 – November 22, 1943
Palmer Haraldson, son of Lena and Eddie Haraldson, was born August 12, 1912 in Nebraska and grew up in the Fort Dodge area. Palmer’s siblings were Theresa Case, LaVerna Proeschold, Henry, Alvin, and Virginia Moore. Palmer was married to Patricia Savage in 1937 and lived in Glendale, California until Palmer’s enlistment in the Marine Corps in February 1943.
Palmer completed basic training in San Diego, California, in April 1943 and in July left for New Zealand where he joined Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines in October in preparation for the invasion of Tarawa. The capture of Betio Island on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands from the Japanese was considered essential to the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet’s Central Pacific Campaign. Palmer was killed while his unit was attacking a Japanese stronghold on Betio Island on November 22, 1943. The island was secured the following day and the majority of the assault force departed Betio Island on November 24, leaving behind a small number of personnel to care for the dead. The dead were buried in temporary graves until the end of the war, when, in March 1946, the United States began recovery operations. Due to bad record keeping and massive reconstruction on the island, only 532 of the 1,100 graves were found. Palmer was declared non-recoverable.
In March 2015, after years of research, Mark Noah, director of History Flight, Inc., a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to finding, recovering and repatriating America’s war dead to American soil, announced the discovery and recovery of the remains of 36 marines on Tarawa, including the remains of Palmer Haraldson. Mr. Noah’s archaeological team consisted of forensic anthropologists, geophysicists, historians, surveyors, forensic odontologists, medics and cadaver dog handlers. The History Flight team has to date recovered 48 marines from the cemetery where Palmer was found and is currently working another site on the island.
History Flight works in cooperation with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the federal agency tasked with recovering the remains of missing U.S. service personnel. In June 2015 Palmer’s remains were flown to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii to await official identification and repatriation with family.
Palmer was officially identified in December 2015 and will be buried with full military honors at Memorial Park Cemetery in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on June 22, 2016, where his parents and other family members were previously buried. The memorial service for Palmer will be at 1:30 p.m. on June 22, 2016, at Bruce Funeral Home in Fort Dodge followed by the burial. A reception will follow at the V.F.W. in Ft. Dodge.
Palmer’s nieces and nephews are Theresa Case Nichols (deceased); Ellen Case Eichhorn (Leslie) Pilotte of Albuquerque, NM; Glen (Ruth) Proeschold of Pueblo, CO; Ron (Joan) Proeschold of Canyon Lake, CA; Peggy Proeschold (Arnie) Ellsbury of Perry, IA; Marlys Proeschold (Jim) Blair of Sun City, AZ; Bruce Proeschold (deceased); Gary Haraldson (deceased); Alan (Virginia) Haraldson of Erie, PA; Dennis Haraldson of Ft. Dodge, IA; Jeana Haraldson (John) Grandors of Ft. Dodge, IA; Henry Haraldson, Jr. (deceased); Richard Haraldson (deceased); Barbara Moore Lippert Mulgrave of Bloomfield, IA; Alan (Sandy) Moore of Laguna Niguel, CA; Gary (Patti) Moore of Gig Harbor, WA; Carolyn Moore (Bill) Redding of San Clemente, CA.
To read more about the the recovery and the History Flight please log on to historyflight.com