Patriot Guard Riders Pennsylvania
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Honorable Escort: Nicholas Cancilla, USMC WWII KIA/Pittsburgh/Altoona, PA / 5 & 7 Nov 16


Nov 16


Nicholas Cancilla
 Pittsburgh, PA / Altoona, PA
5 & 7 Nov 2016


The Patriot Guard Riders have been invited to provide an Escort and Stand in Silent Honor and Respect for, US Marine Corps, WWII KIA, as he is returned home on Sat, 5 November, and is laid to rest in Altoona, PA ,
Monday, 7 Nov 16



In November 1943, Cancilla was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, 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, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Cancilla died sometime during the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

Despite the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces, military success in the battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio, but Cancilla’s remains were not recovered.

In June 2011, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island.  In 2012, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (now DPAA) team excavated the site and recovered three individual sets of remains.  

To identify Cancilla’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a brother, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons and anthropological analysis, which matched Cancilla’s records.




Saturday, Nov 5 2016



Staging: 9:30 AM




Briefing: 9:45 AM

Details of the mission will be now discussed.


KSU: 10:00 AM


To Pittsburgh International Airport


Flag Line: 10:25 AM


Ride Captain: Jim Shaw


(412) 217-5967
















Calvary Cemetery


Watch The Weather & Dress Accordingly.  Please Bring Your Handheld 3×5 Flags.  


Ride Captain: Steve Socie


(814) 515- 5234


Assisting RCIT: Larry Graper


(814) 932- 2423


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