Tag Archives: World War II

Video courtesy of Ryan Gooding and the Boulder Daily Camera

Sandy Bonnyman Jr. with Medal of HonorMost students graduate with some knowledge of Martha Berry’s family history, but it’s doubtful many know the story of her nephew, Marine 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor for valor in the Battle of Tarawa during World War II. He lost his life that day in 1943, and for nearly 75 years his body was lost as well.

Bonnyman’s heroism and the subsequent search for his remains were the focus of a recent campus presentation by Clay Bonnyman Evans, grandson of the World War II hero and author of Bones of My Grandfather: Reclaiming a Lost Hero of World War II.

Evans was thrilled by the opportunity to share the story of his grandfather with Berry students.

“I love Berry College,” he said. “I think it’s such an amazing and cool school. And I love the fact that people in the Berry community and in Rome are interested in the Berry family story.”

In his earliest years, Evans recalls his grandfather being an almost mythical hero symbolized by the Medal of Honor that hung on the wall of every house he knew as a child. Decades later, he played a role in solving the mystery of his grandfather’s whereabouts through his work with History Flight, an organization led by Mark Noah dedicated to finding and recovering the bodies of missing American soldiers abroad.

“If anyone was going to get this done it was going to be this little nonprofit,” Evans said.

In 2015, History Flight uncovered Bonnyman’s body along with others buried in a small stretch of land known as “Cemetery 27” on that far away Pacific island. Evans was present when the archeologist identified the remains. Later that year, his grandfather was finally laid to rest in the family burial plot in Tennessee.

“I was privileged to be a part of the effort to locate his remains, but the credit for that goes to Mark Noah and History Flight,” Evans said. “Mark, like my grandfather, was doggedly determined. He refused to give up, and he made it happen. Without Mark Noah, I feel very confident that we would never have found my grandfather.”

More coverage: Washington Post; Campus Carrier

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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