Sergeant Donald Deloy Stoddard was killed in action on the island of Betio, Tarawa atoll, on 11/22/43.
His remains were recovered in 2019 by History Flight and were identified in 2020. Sgt Stoddard was flown home to Colorado on June 23rd, 2021. He received full honors at the airport with the water canons creating a bridge over the plane as it arrived at the gate; TSA and Marine Corps Color Guards; Marines, including one of his cousin’s grandsons who was recently discharged, Sgt Brandon Jarvis (pall bearer). Combat Logistics Battalion 453 I & I staff provided the Military Honors for the airport and graveside led by Col Nicholas Smith. Grounds crews, TSA, and the pilot also participated in honoring this hero!
Donald Deloy Stoddard was born in South Dakota and moved in his early teens to Boulder, CO where his family, including 6 siblings, resided. Little is actually known about them. Young Stoddard left high school his senior year to join the Marine Corps in 1939 and was deployed to Iceland, Guadalcanal, New Zealand, and finally Tarawa. He excelled at all he did as his early promotion to Sgt indicates. He was in artillery at the time of his death. His family purchased his burial plot and headstone in 1943 in hopes that his remains would be returned and 78 years later, they were! His nephew and namesake Don McKeehan represented the family at the committal service. Sgt Jarvis attended in dress blues and participated as a pall bearer and in the dove release!
The following photos are from Sergeant Stoddard’s escort after his arrival in Colorado on June 23rd and his funeral ceremony in Boulder on June 26th, 2021. All photos courtesy of Tim Crider, USMC Memorial Foundation photographer.
The Marine Corps, USMC Memorial Foundation President, Paula Sarlls; Denver Police Officer 1st Grade Henry Jones, and US Vets Riding Club are responsible for the dignified transfer of the remains at DIA and escort to the mortuary as well as the committal service. The Rocky Mountain Renegades provided the flyover; Taps were played by Henry Stoffer, a teen with Bugles Across America; Bagpipes were played by James Dawe who plays with the police/fire bagpipers in Douglas County.
Paula Sarlls officiated the graveside ceremony. Speaking were Major General Wm F Mullen, III, USMC (R); Clifton Mizer, pastor, First Baptist Church of Englewood; with prayers by a US Naval Chaplain.
All photos courtesy of Tim Crider.