The long journey home for United State Marine Corps Sergeant Millard Odom has finally come to an end.
The remains of the heroic Marine arrived in San Diego nearly 75 years to the day after he died in battle.
Pauline Stewart lives in Vista and is Sgt. Odom's sister and his only living relative. She was 13 years old when her brother was killed in World War II and is now about to turn 89.
“It's bringing back lots of memories from her childhood,” said Stewart’s son-in-law David Brown. “He’s definitely home.”
Sgt. Odom was 26 when he died on the first day of the Battle of Tarawa in November of 1943. According to the military, it was from some kind of explosion.
His unidentified remains were interred many years ago in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with around a thousand other unidentified service members who were killed in the historic battle.
The quest to bring Odom back to the states began five years ago. Through extensive DNA testing Sgt. Odom’s remains were finally identified in September.
“It's just a conclusion of 75 years of not knowing where he was,” Brown said.
Odom’s remains arrived at San Diego International Airport and were escorted to his resting place by U.S. Marines and the Patriot Guard Riders.
“It’s such closure for the family,” Patriot Guard Riders member Steven Crouch said. Patriot Guard Riders are a non-profit motorcycle group that participates in funeral processions for fallen military.
Odom’s family will finally get to lay him to rest at Miramar National Cemetery with on Nov. 20.