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PRINTER'S NO. 3142
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
2312
Session of
2024
INTRODUCED BY KEPHART, KINSEY, GUENST, SMITH, BURGOS, CAUSER,
SCHMITT, STAATS, RAPP, MOUL, DELLOSO, GLEIM, JAMES,
BERNSTINE, GILLEN, KAUFFMAN AND BANTA, MAY 21, 2024
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION, MAY 21, 2024
AN ACT
Designating a bridge, identified as Bridge Key 11226, carrying
Pennsylvania Route 53 over the Clearfield Creek in Bigler
Township, Clearfield County, as the Sergeant John Harold
Branic Memorial Bridge.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sergeant John Harold Branic Memorial Bridge.
(a) Findings.--The General Assembly finds and declares as
follows:
(1) John Harold Branic was born April 4, 1916, in
Madera, Clearfield County.
(2) Sergeant Branic enlisted in the United States Marine
Corps at the start of World War II after graduating high
school and was a member of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th
Marines.
(3) On August 18, 1942, the Marines from L Company, 3rd
Battalion, 5th Marines began a combat patrol on Guadalcanal
that became known as Matanikau One.
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(4) The Marines probed six miles westward to the
Matanikau River where, on August 19, 1942, the Japanese
spotted the Marines atop Hill 73 and directed mortars and
small arms fire against them.
(5) During this attack, Sergeant Branic was killed but
the Marines counterattacked and succeeded in driving the
Japanese back.
(6) The location of Sergeant Branic's remains were not
reported to headquarters as the L Company executive officer
was also killed during the action.
(7) On August 19, 1942, Sergeant Branic was officially
declared dead and earned the Purple Heart posthumously,
although his body was never recovered and he was officially
listed as missing in action.
(8) Sergeant Branic was memorialized at Manila American
Cemetery on the Tablets of the Missing.
(9) In 1992, work commenced at the Guadalcanal Memorial
on the Skyline Ridge atop Hill 73 and, during the excavation,
the remains of a marine were found with a ring with the
initials J.H.B. on the band.
(10) The remains were recovered and transported to
Hawaii where, in 2004, an American researcher with the First
Marine Division Association reported that a Solomon Islander
had possession of the ring with the inscription J.H.B.
(11) Joint POW/MIA Accounting Agency scientists and
Armed Forces DNA Identification specialists used
mitochondrial DNA to identify the remains of Sergeant Branic
and he was no longer considered missing in action.
(12) Sergeant Branic was the first Madera resident to be
killed during World War II.
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(13) On August 9, 2006, Sergeant Branic was laid to rest
in Arlington National Cemetery.
(b) Designation.--The bridge, identified as Bridge Key
11226, carrying Pennsylvania Route 53 over the Clearfield Creek
in Bigler Township, Clearfield County, is designated the
Sergeant John Harold Branic Memorial Bridge.
(c) Signs.--The Department of Transportation shall erect and
maintain appropriate signs displaying the name of the bridge to
traffic in both directions on the bridge.
Section 2. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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