HONOLULU — The U.S. military has brought back the remains of more than 20 servicemen killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

An Air Force cargo plane flew the remains from Tarawa atoll in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati (KEE-ree-bas) to Hawaii on Wednesday. Marines carried flag-draped caskets off the plane for a ceremony.

The remains are among those discovered in March by History Flight, a nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts.

In this Wednesday, July 17, 2019 photo, Marines march past transfer cases carrying the possible remains of unidentified service members lost in the Battle of Tarawa during World War II in a hangar at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

They’re believed to belong to Marines and sailors from the 6th Marine Regiment who were killed during the last night of the three-day Battle of Tarawa. More than 6,000 Americans, Japanese and Koreans died.

Forensic anthropologists with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will work to identify the remains using dental records, DNA and other clues.

In this Wednesday, July 17, 2019 photo, service members and guests stand as "Taps" is played over transfer cases carrying the possible remains of unidentified service members lost in the Battle of Tarawa during World War II in a hangar at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
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