The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Tech. 5th Grade John E. Bainbridge, 23, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, killed during World War II, was accounted for on June 24, 2019.
(This identification was initially announced on June 26, 2019.)
On Dec. 2, 1942, Bainbridge was a member of Company C, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, when his unit engaged in an assault against enemy positions on the Urbana Front, outside of Buna Village, in the Australian Territory of Papua (present-day Papua New Guinea.) Bainbridge was killed in action and postwar efforts failed to locate or identify his remains.
On Feb. 2, 1943, the remains of an unidentified American Soldier were interred at the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery in Buna Village. In July 1944, the remains were reinterred at a nearby U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery, then later to U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery Finschhafen #2 where the remains were designated “Unknown X-135.”
In 1947, the American Graves Registration service exhumed approximately 11,000 graves, including X-135, and sent the remains to the Central Identification Point at the Manila Mausoleum in the Philippines. X-135 could not be identified and was interred at Fort McKinley (now the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.)
In Feb. 22, 2017, Unknown X-135 was disinterred, and the remains were sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis.
To identify Bainbridge’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission for their partnership in this mission.
For family information, contact the Army Service Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
Bainbridge will be buried Sept. 29, 2019, in Monona, Wisconsin.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,674 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable. Bainbridge’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.