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Long lost Duluth Marine to be interred on Saturday

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Mary Hagen of Duluth holds a photo of her brother James Hubert, a World War II vet who died in battle in the South Pacific Island of Tarawa. DNA testing identified his long-lost remains that will be brought home to be buried this summer. Bob King / Forum News Service2 / 4
Marine Sgt. James Joseph Hubert is seen here before heading off to serve in the Pacific during World War II. Courtesy of Mary Hagen3 / 4
Among many items recovered from Marine Sgt. James Joseph Hubert's remains was his dog tag. In the background is the Purple Heart he received. Bob King / Forum News Service4 / 4

DULUTH, Minn. — After shipping off to the Pacific theater following the attack of Pearl Harbor, U.S. Marine Sgt. James Joseph Hubert was killed in action on Nov. 21, 1943, during the Battle of Tarawa.

The Duluth resident was buried on the island of Betio, where his body remained unidentified for decades. Seventy-three years after he was killed, he will be brought home to Duluth to be buried Saturday, July 15, at Calvary Cemetery in a funeral open to the public. The military designated Hubert as "non-recoverable," but History Flight, a nonprofit dedicated to recovering American troops lost in war and repatriating their remains on U.S. soil, recovered the remains of Hubert and 34 other Marines from an unmarked burial trench on Betio in 2015.

Hubert's funeral is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Calvary Cemetery, 4820 Howard Gnesen Road in Duluth. The funeral will begin with a horse-drawn caisson bringing Hubert to his final resting place at the cemetery's Soldier's Rest.

No parking will be allowed in the cemetery before or during the funeral. Parking will be available at Archer Racing and CARS, 4841 Howard Gnesen Road, Homecroft Elementary School, 4784 Howard Gnesen Road, and Family of God Lutheran Church, 4097 Martin Road. A shuttle bus will be traveling between the three parking areas and the cemetery.

Hubert's family requests that donations be made to History Flight in lieu of flowers or other items.

Several events to honor Hubert in the Twin Cities and Duluth will be held during the next few days. Gov. Mark Dayton is also expected to proclaim Saturday "James Joseph Hubert Day" in Minnesota.

Hubert, who enlisted shortly before he was to begin 12th grade, will receive an honorary diploma from Denfeld High School during a presentation open to the public at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 13, in Denfeld's auditorium. Following the presentation, Hubert's sister Mary Hagen will be invited to write his name and graduation year in the Denfeld clock tower.

Following a private dignified arrival of Hubert's remains at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport early Friday, Hubert will be transferred to Fort Snelling National Cemetery, where he will lie in repose. The public will be able to pay its respects from 6:30-8:30 a.m. Friday at Fort Snelling, 7601 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

From Fort Snelling, Hubert will be brought to Duluth in a processional escorted by the Patriot Guard. They are expected to arrive in Duluth around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

For more information, visit jamesjosephhubert.com.

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