NEWTON, Miss. – Veterans, family members and state officials gathered Monday at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Newton to honor the life of Corp. Quentin McCall.
McCall, who served in the Pacific theater during World War II, was interred in the cemetery almost 78 years after his death.
Quentin Weldon McCall was born Aug. 13, 1920 in Union Church, Mississippi as the youngest of eight children. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on May 7, 1942 in Jackson along with 15 other Mississippians, and was sent to San Diego for basic training.
In October 1942, McCall deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he and his fellow Marines in India Company, Third Battalion, 6th Marines were a part of Operation GALVANIC on the Island of Betio. Their goal was to take control of a Japanese airstrip in the Tarawa Atoll, which would prevent Japanese forces from moving toward the U.S. and move American troops closer to Japan.
On November 23, 1943, McCall was killed in action during the Battle of Tarawa. He was 23 years old.
Cpl. McCall was buried in Cemetery 33, Row D, on Betio Island by his fellow Marines. His remains were later relocated to Hawaii, where, unable to be identified, were interred as Unknowns in Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency confirmed McCall’s remains on Sept. 27, 2019, and arrangements were made to return him to his home state of Mississippi.
Mississippi Veterans Affairs Director of Cemeteries Marcus Lawson said it was an honor to be the final resting place of a dedicated Marine who gave his life for his country.
“I would like to thank you for the honor and the privilege to be the final resting spot for Corporal McCall,” Lawson said. “It’s an honor for myself and my staff to be called the final resting spot, where he will forever be remembered for the ultimate sacrifice he made to our great nation.”
In a proclamation signed Thursday, Gov. Tate Reeves declared Oct. 25, 2021 a day of mourning in remembrance of Cpl. McCall. In a Facebook post announcing the proclamation, Reeves said Mississippians were in McCall’s debt.
“We are forever indebted to Corporal McCall and America’s greatest Generation,” he said in the Facebook post. “I’m honored to proclaim October 25, 2021, Day of Mourning in Remembrance of Corporal Quentin Weldon McCall. Welcome home, Corporal.”