Tuesday, 12 September 2017 17:16

After nearly 75 years, the remains of a marine on the way to Caribou Featured

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A Caribou man is headed home after nearly 75 years.

He left after joining the marines to help the United States military's effort in World War II.

He died November 20th, 1943, during a battle in the Pacific, but remains were never identified.

Until now.

Thursday, a caravan is expected to accompany the remains of Marine Private Alberic Blanchette from Boston to Caribou.

Next  Monday, he'll be buried next to his mother.

"It'll be bittersweet, you know, because it means World War II is over for our family. Because our family hero is home," said Blanchette's niece, Jana Dumond, during a telephone interview earlier this week.

The three-day battle on the Tarawa Atoll between U.S. and Japanese forces was one of the fiercest in the Pacific Theater, leaving some 1,000 marines and sailors dead.

"When he went into Tarawa and he was one of the first one's landed on that island. And he was one of the first boys out of Aroostook County to die out of that war," said James McDonald, Blanchette's nephew.

According to the Department of Defense, of those who died during World War II, the remains of more than 73,000 veterans have yet to be identified.

Even though they never met him, Pvt. Blanchette was known as Uncle Brickie by his nieces and nephews.

"Growing up Uncle Brickie was the icon of the family," said Dumond.

It's been a long time coming, but in July the family got word the remains of their uncle had been identified and would be shipped to Caribou.

"We were all pretty ecstatic, I'll tell you what. Well, we've been trying to get his name and remains up here, well, all this time," said McDonald.

This coming Monday afternoon, veterans from throughout Aroostook County are expected to pay tribute to Marine Pvt. Alberic Blanchette.

 

TJ Tremble

Reporter
tjtremble@wvii.com

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying political science.

He started his news career at the Camden Herald, many years ago. He also worked for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland, Belfast and Bangor.

He entered broadcast journalism as news director for WQCB-FM, Brewer. For Many years he worked behind the scenes in radio and television.

Recently, he worked as a news reporter for Zone Radio Corporation in Bangor [WZON-AM, WKIT-FM and WZLO-FM.

He has received reporting awards from the Maine Press Association, Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Maine Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

He is married, with three adult children and two grandchildren.