Marshall County

Pvt Franklin Merrill Nodland
Born 16 Sep 1923
Died 17 Aug 1942




Pvt. Franklin Merrill Nodland
September 16, 1923 ~ August 17, 1942

The 2nd Raider Battalion was a U.S. Marine Corp unit which was led by Lt. Col. Evan Carlson and second in command, Maj. James Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The battalion was trained to conduct commando and guerilla tactics behind enemy lines. They conducted a two-day raid upon Butaritari Island in the Makin Atoll on August 17 and 18, 1942.

It was estimated that the Raiders killed 83 Japanese soldiers during the raid. However, due to high seas, the Raiders were unable to evacuate the bodies of their fallen comrades. Prior to his departure, Lt. Col. Carlson gave an islander $50 to bury the dead Raiders. Among those left behind was Pvt. Franklin Merrill Nodland of Marshalltown, Iowa. Pvt. Nodland, a rifleman, had been killed by sniper fire.

An attempt to recover the bodies in 1949 was unsuccessful.

Aided by an islander who had helped bury the bodies when he was a young boy, a recovery team from the U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory discovered a mass grave on Butaritari Island in November of 1999. The remains were exhumed and after examination, the Marines were eventually identified. The remains, including those of Pvt. Nodland were flown to in August of 2001 to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Lt. Col. Evan Carlson was present when the remains arrived at the air base.

13 caskets and a casket holding co-mingled remains were interred, with full military ceremony, at Arlington National Cemetery on August 17, 2001.

Pvt. Nodland’s family was present for the ceremony and interment. They received an American flag which draped one of the caskets.