A private researcher said that he had located the graves of 139 Marines who were killed during WWII. More than 500 Marines are still listed as MIA from the three-day battle following the November 20, 1943, U.S. invasion of the tiny island.
Mark Noah of Marathon, Fla., raised $90,000 for ground-penetrating radar, as well as reviewing military documents and interviewing "hundreds", according to the Associated Press, to find the graves. He gave the Pentagon his information in January.
"There will have to be convincing evidence before we mount an excavation of any spot that could yield remains," said Larry Greer of the Pentagon's POW/Missing Personnel Office.
Greer said specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command would likely excavate a test site on Tarawa to determine if a larger xploration is warrented.