U.S. Marine Corps Private First-Class Louis Wiesehan Jr., age 20, of Richmond, Indiana, was killed in action November 21, 1943, during World War II’s Battle of Tarawa, on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands.
“Junior” was born February 16, 1923, in Richmond, Indiana, to Louis Fred and Marie Macke Wiesehan. He graduated from Richmond High School in 1940. Two months after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, Junior took a trip to Indianapolis, Indiana, to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. After boot camp at the Recruit Training Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, he was stationed at Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, and at Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Later that same year, Junior shipped out to the Pacific Theater.
Pfc. Wiesehan was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. He was awarded a Purple Heart, American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Pfc. Wiesehan was buried on Tarawa in an unmarked mass grave and classified Missing in Action in 1949. The burial site was discovered in 2015, by a dedicated team from History Flight, Inc., a non-profit organization, who works in cooperation with the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Pfc. Wiesehan started his journey back home to Richmond in September 2019, when his remains and the remains of 35 other U.S. Marines were flown to Hawaii to be positively identified. On September 23, 2019, the DPAA officially announced, “Pfc. Louis Wiesehan Jr., missing from World War II, was accounted for.”
He was joined in Heaven with his loving parents; sister, Joan Rose Wiesehan Manlief; brother, Richard Omer Wiesehan; and nephew, Richard Wiesehan.
Survivors include his niece, Patricia Manlief Wisehart of Shirley, Indiana; nephews, David (Mary) Manlief of Mesa, Arizona, and Malcolm “Mac” (Ramona) Manlief of Aurora, Indiana; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and many great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.
Family and friends of Pfc. Louis Wiesehan Jr. will gather 77 years after his death to honor his return home and to celebrate his life from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 18, 2020, at Doan & Mills Funeral Home, 790 National Road West, Richmond. A short service will follow at 6:00 p.m. A public funeral procession from the funeral home across the Main Street Bridge and along Main Street to 9th Street will begin at 12:00 noon and conclude with a graveside service at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Goshen Cemetery, 3600 North State Road 227, Richmond, with full Marine Corps Funeral Honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be given in memory of Pfc. Louis Wiesehan Jr. to History Flight, Inc., 317 William Street, Suite 1, Fredericksburg, VA 22401 or online at www.historyflight.com/donate/.