Horace Arnold “Bud” Carlsen, of Brookfield, who was 31 at the time of his death, died on Nov. 20, 1943 in the WW II Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater. Born on January 4, 1912, Tech Sgt. Carlsen, who went by the name of “Harry” (family members called him “Bud”) came from a large family and, through the 1930s, worked as an auto mechanic for Mahoney & Sirvotka in Cicero. He was married to Jarmila Fisera from 1933 to 1941.
He enlisted in the Marine Reserves in December of 1941 and rose to the rank of technical sergeant, serving as the quartermaster maintenance chief for Company A of the 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion.
From August through December of 1942, he participated in landing assaults against several strongly defended enemy positions in the South Pacific including Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo, Florida and Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands.
In November 1943, he was among the first troops to assault the heavily fortified enemy defenses of Red Beach One, on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands as part of an advance team whose mission was to establish a headquarters for tractor battalion operations.
Tech Sgt. Carlsen was one of 550 Marines killed in the battle whose remains were not identified or recovered. Dog tags were removed, gravesites obliterated and records lost.
In 1946, his unidentified remains were moved to Hawaii’s Schofield Mausoleum. In 1949, his remains were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Hawaii’s Punchbowl in grave E1212.
Due to extensive research by William Niven, Rick Stone (Chief Rick Stone and The Family Foundation) and Mark Noah (History Flight), the search for Tech Sgt. Carlsen focused on grave E1212.
Work by Nancy Spellman, his niece, and his great-nephew, Ed Spellman, led to the exhumation of E1212 and the conclusive identification of Tech Sgt. Carlsen in June 2018.
Tech Sgt. “Bud” Carlsen is survived by his nieces and nephews, Barbara Rapp, James Goodman, Richard Goodman and Jane Hilmer; and his many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Visitation is on Friday, Oct. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Glueckert Funeral Home Ltd., 1520 North Arlington Heights Rd. (4 blocks south of Palatine Rd.) in Arlington Heights. On Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m., a committal service will be held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates memorials be donated to nonprofit organizations working to locate and identify the remaining lost Tarawa Marines.