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Soldier Reported Missing In Korean War Is Buried In Wisconsin Decades Later

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Seventy years ago, Army Corporal Francis J. Rochon was reported missing in action while fighting in the Korean War. His remains were finally identified last month. Over the weekend, he was buried near his boyhood home in Foxboro, Wis.

MARIAN KLEIN: It is so hard to explain how we feel right now. We're happy but sad at the same time. He was a brother that we really never got to know.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Marian Klein is Rochon's sister. She was just a few months old when her brother was killed.

KLEIN: Our younger sister wasn't born yet, so she said that she always felt a little bit jealous that maybe he got to play with us before he left, you know?

GREENE: Corporal Rochon's battalion was overrun during heavy fighting. Remains from many soldiers were collected and, over the years, transported from smaller cemeteries in South Korea to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl.

KLEIN: Twenty years ago, after there was an article in the newspaper that my husband had read asking if you had relatives that were MIA in Korea and you had not heard anything yet to please contact this casualty office. So I did, and I discovered that there was no DNA on file because, 70 years ago, they didn't do DNA. And so I got cousins together and got DNA sent in, and he had been in the Punchbowl in Hawaii for, oh, approximately 30 years.

INSKEEP: Marian Klein and her family stood on the airport tarmac when her brother finally came home.

KLEIN: I just - I don't know how to express it, that we're just so grateful and so blessed. And we're praying that other families don't give up.

INSKEEP: Corporal Francis J. Rochon was laid to rest over the weekend. Wisconsin's governor ordered flags across the state to fly at half-staff.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOLDMUND'S "ABOVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.