Fallen World War II Hero Comes Home

Thomas Frank Johnson was buried Monday at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery, nearly 80 years after he was killed in action in the South Pacific. KNVN's Esteban Reynoso reports.

(KNVN/NBC News) — A fallen World War II Marine has finally been laid to rest, nearly eight decades after his death.

Thomas Frank Johnson was buried Monday at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery in Igo.

“It means he’s finally home. He’s resting comfortably now,” said Fred Loveland, a Navy veteran.

Johnson’s remains were missing for 77 years in the South Pacific.

“The area that we actually found Thomas in, he was underneath a house that was built in the ’50s,” says Jordan Windish, an osteoarchaeologist with History Flight, the non-profit that excavated and brought Johnson’s remains back to the states. “It had a concrete slab foundation not many buildings on Tarawa do. He was actually protected.”

For Windish, every day is a reminder of all the others still missing.

“His pictures along with other Marines that are missing in our repository every day at work, you go into work, you see their picture, and then coming through and meeting the family,” she says. “Seeing their appreciation, it’s priceless.”

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