North Texas Man Identified in World War II Remains

The remains of Fred Farris, 19 and a Hillsboro man, were identified nearly 80 years after he died in battle as a Marine Corps sergeant

Defense PO-MIA Accounting Agency

A Hillsboro 19-year-old man was identified in World War II remains after the Marine Corps sergeant died in a battle in the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 20, 1943.

According to the Defense POW-MIA Account Agency, Sgt. Fred Farris, who was 19 at the time, died in the first day of battle on the small island of Betio of the Gilbert Islands.

The U.S. fought the Japanese in an attempt to secure the island, the DPAA said.

A board of review declared Farris "non-recoverable" in 1949 after the recovered remains from the battle could not be associated with the North Texas 19-year-old.

But in 2016, construction workers on the island discovered possible human remains and contacted nonprofit organization History Flight.

History Flight then discovered additional remains and evidence confirming the site to be a cemetery for the 1943 battle, the DPAA said.

The DPAA received the remains from the nonprofit, and scientists at the organization identified Farris's remains in 2020.

The DPAA announced his identification Thursday in a press release after his family received a full briefing on the identification.

Farris will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the DPAA said.

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