Mike Drea, born Terrance Lee Drea, died in January 1970 in an explosion in Vietnam, the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday.
Drea was a member of the 199th Infantry Company and was 20 years old when he died. The explosion also killed 12 other members of the infantry.
The U.S. Army sent his personal belongings to his family in Richland County, except his class ring. His sister Mary Krekeler said her family assumed it was buried in the debris of the explosion, the State Journal said.
However, the ring was actually sent to the family of Jerry Sain in Pennsylvania. Sain was also killed in the explosion.
Sain's brother Joe said his family tried to find the proper owner of the ring several times since they received it in the mail in 1970.
In 2010, Sain and some of his family members visited the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. He said the experience moved him and he thought again of the class ring.
He then turned to the Internet to to find the owner of the ring, which had very little clues as to where is came from; an eagle insignia, the initials M.D. and Weston High School, the newspaper reported.
Sain found that there were three Weston High Schools in the United States, and one -- in Wisconsin -- had an eagle insignia.
In November 2012, Sain flew to Wisconsin for a basketball tournament in Ripon. While there he contacted someone at the high school who told him Terrance Drea, who died in Vietnam in 1970, was known to everyone as Mike: M.D.
Sain was given the name of Drea's brother, Bill, who lived on the family farm outside Cazenovia. Sain then drove over and delivered the ring. During the same trip, he also visited Krekeler in Madison.
"It's been wonderful for both families," Sain said.
"It's remarkable," Mary said. "After so many years. My parents would have been thrilled."