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Private First Class William F. Cavin laid to rest after 75 years

November 14, 2018

Staff report

William Cavin
U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class William Franklin (Frank) Cavin of Hancock County, who was killed in the Battle of Tarawa on November 20, 1943.  Submitted photo.

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognized the service and sacrifice of U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class William Franklin (Frank) Cavin of Hancock County, who  was killed in the Battle of Tarawa on November 20, 1943.  William was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division on Betio Island and was among 1,000 Marines and Sailors killed during the World War II battle with the Japanese. He was 18 years old.

Immediately following the battle, service members were buried in cemeteries on the island. In July, 2013, History Flight, Inc. reportedly found remains in Cemetery #33 and turned them over to Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).  hese remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as Tarawa Unknown X-032.

On March 13, 2017, DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System exhumed the unknown remains to begin the identification process. The unidentified remains were confirmed to be Cavin’s n earlier this year.

“Frank was not even 17-years old when he enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve his country,” Haslam said. “This native Tennessean was clearly born with the Volunteer Spirit and we are proud to welcome him home.”

“The Battle of Tarawa is more than a legendary piece of World War II history,” Grinder said. “The pain of those lost, still lives with us today. However, Frank Cavin will no longer lie under a headstone marked Tarawa Unknown X-032. This hero will be laid to rest with full honors, under a headstone with his name, among his family.”

Graveside ceremony was held at the Overton Cemetery in Sneedville, Tennessee late last month. Haslam also declared a day of mourning from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, October 13 in honor of Cavin’s ultimate sacrifice.