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While on Peleliu in 2002 I obtained two WWII Marine Corps Canteen cups. In 2006 I obtained a third canteen cup. One of them I found, and the other two were given to me by Mr. Sachio Kageyama, the son of a Japanese Officer killed during the battle. Mr. Kageyama is also the president of the "2nd Infantry Regiment's Comrade Assoc." He and other volunteers visit Peleliu regulalry to search for and collect the bones of their war dead for proper Buddhist burial. I was able to facilitate the return of all three canteen cups.
This is the story of the first cup:
In March 2002 I went to Peleliu with "Military Historical Tours" and met, by chance, a group of Japanese who had found an old WWII US Marine rusty canteen cup in the jungle. Mr. Kageyama (whose father was killed on Peleliu) gave me the cup asking me to find the original owner's next of kin and return it. The cup had a name and unit designation scratched into it, " "Moore, W.T." and "E-2-7" . Mr. Kageyama has no such mementos of his father whose body has never been recovered from the battle. He stated that if he were to receive such a memento how happy he would be, and can easily understand the joy that this cup would bring to the American next of kin.
A team effort to research the national archives and Marine Corps records showed that Pfc. William T. Moore served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines and was killed in action on Peleliu Sept. 27, 1944.
One of the members of the group from Peleliu, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. John Edward, and I presented the canteen cup to the Marine's two sisters at an emotional reunion in the lobby of the Airtel motel in Sunland on Jan. 9, 2004.
The emotional presentation was a simple gathering in the lobby of a hotel where we presented Dorothy Saraga and Betty Birch with their brother's canteen cup along with some tokens of appreciation that included a Marine Corps flag for each of them and a small bag of sand from the place where their brother made the ultimate sacrifice.
The photos held by the sisters are of their brother Bill Moore, and of his temporary grave on Peleliu. The sisters now had evidence of their brother after 60 years and were very emotional as they held it close.
"We're a total Marine Corps family," said Dorothy Saraga. Their father was a Devil Dog veteran of Belleau Wood in WWI, and Betty Birch herself is a WWII Marine Corps veteran. Their nephew, Bill Moore, the namesake of the Peleliu veteran was a crew chief in Vietnam.