By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The remains of a World War II hero are finally home, nearly 80 years after his death.

A procession carried the remains of Marine Private Jacob Cruz after his flag-draped coffin was taken back to Southern California.

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(credit: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

Cruz was among the 1,000 Marines and sailors killed during a major battle on the Gilbert Islands after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was just 18 years old when he died on the third day of fighting in November of 1943.

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His remains had reportedly been buried with the bodies of other fallen Marines in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert islands in Row D of what became known as Cemetery 33. In 2019, archaeologists identified several of those remains, including Cruz.

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Cruz was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions. He will be buried this month in his hometown, according to the military.