Remains of World War II soldier return home; to be laid to rest in Springfield

BRIDGETON, Mo. - The remains of a St. Louis-born soldier killed in World War II finally returned home Wednesday.

The remains of Staff Sergeant Michael Aiello arrived at St. Louis-Lambert Airport just after 3 p.m. They were brought to the Lambert cargo area and escorted from the airport by the Patriot Guard and others up Interstate 55 to Sherman, Illinois, near Springfield.

Aiello was born in St. Louis in 1909. His family moved to Sherman and eventually to nearby Springfield.

He joined the Army in 1942 and became part of a glider unit. Aiello was involved in the D-Day invasion before being assigned to Operation Market Garden in 1944 in the Netherlands. Glider and airborne troops were assigned to seize bridges in the Netherlands as part of the operation and hold them from the Germans until British units arrived. There was fierce fighting for four days with many losses, including Aiello. He was 35.

The failed operation was portrayed in a book and the 1977 film 'A Bridge Too Far.'

Unidentified remains found in the area were buried in Belguim at a military cemetery. About eight years ago, those remains were disinterred for possible identification. DNA samples from Aiello's family members confirmed the remains were those of staff sergeant Aiello.

Aiello was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Aiello will be buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.