The remains of a Duluth Marine killed in battle during World War II are being returned to Minnesota Friday.
Sgt. James Joseph Hubert will be buried with full military honors in his hometown of Duluth Saturday. His whereabouts were unknown for 73 years.
Hubert was killed in the 1943 World War II battle of Tarawa. He was buried in an unmarked grave on the small Pacific island. His body was found in 2015 in a trench with the remains of more than three dozen other Marines.
The Minnesota Historical Society says soldiers killed in the battle didn't get the usual burial. Normally soldiers would have been stripped of their personal gear before burial, according to senior curator Adam Scher.
"But because the Allied forces were moving so quickly through the Pacific during this period, the graves registration didn't have time to catch up and to properly attend to the deceased," said Scher.
Hubert was buried with a jackknife, his dog tag, his first aid kit and what experts think was a compass.
Those artifacts and others found with his body were returned to Hubert's family, who then donated most of the items to the Historical Society.
Hubert's sister, Mary K Hagen, was 2 years old when her brother died. She never met him, but she said it was still painful to receive his personal effects.
"When we were first given them I just couldn't look at them," she said.
Now Hagen has decided she will keep her brother's ID tag.
"You just hope that someday it'll happen that you'll finally get a call and that's exactly what happened," said Hagen "And there are a lot of people today that are still waiting, and I want them all to know not to give up. They might get their telephone call too."
Twin Cities veterans groups will have a chance to view Hubert's casket at Fort Snelling National Cemetery ahead of his burial Saturday in Duluth.