COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — A family waited more than 75 years for closure after a Philadelphia Marine was killed in World War II. Private First Class Joseph Boschetti’s body was not found until recently and his family has waited a lifetime to find him.
“He was just the best brother there ever was,” Mary Stranieri said. “One of my best brothers.”
Stranieri, 97, told CBS3 that her brother was one of the few and the proud. He was a Marine.
Boschetti made the decision to protect his country back in April 1942. It was a decision that broke his family’s heart.
“My father was very disappointed,” Stranieri said. “He said, ‘You’re too young, wait a while.’ He said, ‘No, Dad, I want to go now.'”
And that’s just what Boschetti did.
But his parents received a knock on the door a year-and-a-half later, a moment Stranieri says she’ll never forget.
“They presented my mother and dad with the telegram telling them that he was killed in action,” she said.
Boschetti was one of 1,020 soldiers who died on Nov. 20, 1943, in the Battle of Tarawa, but his body was never identified.
That was up until this year after his younger brother sent his DNA, linking him to his brother’s remains in Hawaii.
“I always thought and my family always thought that we would never see anything or hear anything, you know? I can’t explain,” Stranieri said. “I just can’t explain it.”
Boschetti would have been 99 years old today if he was still alive.
But 76 years later, this creed holds true — leave no man behind.
“I feel it’s closure now after he’s buried and everything,” Stranieri said. “I feel it’s all completed.”
The funeral is open to the public. It’ll be held at John the Baptist in Manayunk on Nov. 30.
The viewing begins at 9 a.m. and the mass at 11 a.m.