Marine Pfc. Joseph Robert Livermore returned home to Bakersfield on Nov. 14. He was interred at Union Cemetery with full military honors. His family is rightfully proud of the battlefield courage of this Marine Corps hero who died Nov. 22 or 23, 1943, on the island of Tarawa in WWII.

A Japanese military commander stated, “It would take 1,000,000 men 100 years to conquer Tarawa.” It took 18,000 U.S. Marines 76 hours to do just that. I am grateful to have been asked by the family to present the eulogy for Pfc. Livermore, a fellow Marine. I have the utmost appreciation for the painstaking work by volunteers with History Flight and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency — months of digging in insect-infested sand in seething tropical heat and torrential rain. Using more than 4,000 aerial photos, landing maps, artillery maps, advanced forensics and personal accounts of his surviving fellow Marines, they located Pfc. Livermore’s remains. His bones have been concealed in the sand of Tarawa for 76 years. Many thanks to George Clerou, whose late father, Marine Capt. Joe Clerou, was at Tarawa and provided details. George was instrumental in the process of connecting the family to History Flight’s identification efforts.

The third verse of the Marine’s Hymn reads, “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines”. What an incredible legacy Pfc. Livermore left. Not only for his honorable family, but for our entire community.

Dick Taylor, Bakersfield