Goodwill of the Heartland in Davenport sees their fair share of unusual items. Recently, the store received a rare Japanese battle flag. Turns out, it is the same flag that was captured by U.S. forces after the battle of Tarawa Island during the Second World War.
The historic flag was originally listed on Goodwill’s online auction website, shopgoodwill.com. When bids on the flag exceeded $4,000, Goodwill’s e-commerce lead, Jason Wilcox took a closer look at the listing.
“When I discovered the item was an important part of our military history, our retail leadership team didn’t feel right about selling the flag.” Instead they agreed to donate the military artifact to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The flag, still in good shape, has the following inscription written along the flag’s border: “CAPTURED FROM JAPANESE IMPERIAL MARINES NOV. 24 1943 ON BETIO ISLE IN TARAWA OF GILBERT ISLAND. WILLIAM PO. KULBIEDA 3BN. K CO. 8 MARINES 2ND MARINE DIV.”
The Japanese Imperial Navy raised the flag during their occupation of Tarawa, an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean. On November 20, 1943, the United States 2nd Marine Division attacked Tarawa in an effort to end the Japanese occupation of the island.