Photo Courtesy: POW/MIA Accounting AgencyMarine Corps Reserve Pfc. Michael Kocopy, 20, of Gardendale, Pennsylvania
Washington, DC - TMD Enterprises a Washington, DC Photography & Videography production company is honored to be asked to capture Baltimore. MD arrival ceremony and Arlington National Cemetery internment of WWII POW Marine Pfc. Michael Kocopy.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Michael Kocopy, 20, of Gardendale, Pennsylvania, was killed during World War II, he was accounted for on Aug. 27, 2019.
In November 1943, Kocopy was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Kocopy was killed on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. His remains were reportedly buried in the Central Division Cemetery on Betio Island.
In 1946, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company centralized all of the American remains found on Tarawa to Lone Palm Cemetery for later repatriation. However, almost half of the known casualties were never found. No recovered remains could be associated with Kocopy, and in October 1949, a Board of Review declared him “non-recoverable.”
In 2014, History Flight, Inc., a nonprofit organization, identified a site correlated with Cemetery 26. Excavations of the site uncovered multiple sets of remains, which were turned over to DPAA in 2015, where they were subsequently accessioned to the DPAA laboratory.
To identify Kocopy’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the United States Marine Corps for their assistance in this mission. Additionally, DPAA is appreciative to History Flight, Inc., for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,641 service members still unaccounted for from World War II with approximately 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Kocopy’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others killed or lost in WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
PFC KoCopy is expected to arrive at BWI on January 28th or 29th in time for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery on January 30, 2020, at 9 am
Owner of TMD Enterprises, Tom Donohue says "I am honored to be asked to document the final stage in Pfc. Kocopy life, his homecoming to his final resting place at Arlington National Ceremony. Coming from a long line of family who has served in every conflict since WWII. On behalf of my entire family (including a nephew who is currently deployed) my father, a 42 year retired CSM Thomas Donohue, Sr. and my grandfather WWII Veteran the late Gunners Mate 2nd Class Patrick O’Donnell Jr. Thank you, Pfc. KoCopy and his family for your service to our country and your ultimate sacrifice during WWII, It will be a true honor to capture your final journey home to your final resting place where millions of people can reflect on your service and dedication to the United States of America.