Governor and First Lady Honor Marine Cpl. James D. Otto


SACRAMENTO – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Marine Cpl. James D. Otto, a U.S. serviceman missing from World War II.

Earlier this month, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that Marine Cpl. Otto’s remains have been identified. He will be buried next week with full military honors.

Marine Cpl. James D. Otto, 20, of Los Angeles, CA, bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation and the Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends. In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol. Marine Cpl. Otto’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.


The following information was provided by DPAA:

In November 1943, Marine Cpl. Otto was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll in an attempt to secure the island. He was reported killed in action on November 20, 1943.

In the immediate aftermath, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. On February 10, 1949, a military review board declared Marine Cpl. Otto’s remains non-recoverable.

In July 2015, a nongovernmental organization turned over to DPAA the remains of what they believed were U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943, recovered from a burial site on Betio Island.

Scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, circumstantial and material evidence in the identification of the remains.