Wisconsin native World War II soldier buried in Monona

World War II soldier and Wisconsin native John Bainbridge returned home Sunday after 77 years.

Bainbridge was identified by DNA of living relatives.

Nancy Cunningham, Bainbridge’s niece, said she nearly fainted when she found out Bainbridge was coming home.

Bainbridge received full military honors at the service Sunday morning.

But he is not the only World War II soldier coming home after decades, as researchers at the University of Wisconsin have a list of Wisconsin natives they are trying to identify and bring home.

“To me, it’s kind of an honor to dig into it and find some of these guys who are really just unknowns,” said volunteer researcher Michael O’Shea. “These remains are here and nobody ever knows about them.”

Bainbridge was buried next to his sister in Roselawn Memorial Cemetery in Monona.

Cunningham said her grandparents tried to bring him home after he died, and she never thought she would live to see the day he returned to Wisconsin.

Earlier this week, The Journal-Sentinel wrote that Bainbridge was killed Dec. 2, 1942, in the Battle of Buna. His body was buried in New Guinea and reburied in February 1943 at the U.S. Armed Forces Territory in Buna Village, near where he went missing.

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