Sergeant George Raymond “Bud” Reeser, United States Marine Corps, was killed in action on November 22, 1943 in battle at Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands at age 25. He was accounted for on March 27, 2020 and will be returned home on September 24, 2020.
He is survived by his youngest sister, Lois Lauderback of Washington and many nieces and nephews. He preceded his parents and four siblings in death, Frances Patterson, Maxine Moreland, Jack Reeser, and Cpl. Donald Reeser.
Sgt. Reeser was born June 3, 1918 in Goodfield to the late Levi “Peck” and Esther Blain Reeser. The family later moved to 204 S. Wood St. in Washington, and he worked at a local filling station prior to enlisting.
On September 10, 1940, he entered into service at Chicago as a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, achieving the rank of Sergeant. With the 6th Marines, Bud fought at Guadalcanal, and following leave in New Zealand, they were sent to secure Betio Island as part of the Battle of Tarawa. After 76 of hours of battle from Nov. 20-23, 1943, the Island was secured and 99 members of the 6th Marines alone had laid down their life in battle, including Bud. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart for his actions at Tarawa.
Records showed that he and 33 other Marines were buried in Row D of the East Division Cemetery, later named Cemetery 33. But in 1949, as repatriation efforts were concluding, his remains were officially declared non-recoverable.
In 2019, History Flight, Inc. discovered a burial site at Betio Island and it was identified as Row D of Cemetery 33. Sgt. Reeser’s remains were then formally identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
His family thanks the members of these agencies for recovering their loved one and returning him home.
Members of the public wishing to pay their respects to Sgt. Reeser may do so from 4-6:00pm Friday, September 25, 2020 at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington. A graveside service will be held Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:00am at Mt. Zion Cemetery in rural Deer Creek. Reinterment with full military honors rendered by the United States Marine Corps will follow.
Donations in Sgt. Reeser’s name may be sent to History Flight, 317 William St., #1, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, so that they may continue their important work in repatriating American heroes.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sergeant George "Bud" Raymond Reeser, please visit our floral store.