vietnam veteran lost dog tag, personal effects vietnam veteran
gettyimages 52735529 Vets reunited with dog tags, decades later

Military-style dog tags are seen displayed in an art exhibit titled “Women On War” at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)


Veterans across the country are finding meaningful gifts in the mail:  their lost dog tags.  It’s part of a project by students with the University of Arizona’s Department of Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) Tours of Peace program.

Vietnam vet Bob Allsup is 71.  He lost his dog tag in 1969 when we was shot in the ankle in an ambush.

That changed when he got a letter in the mail from the VETS organization, asking if the dirtied dog tag inside was his.

“I thought it was spam,” Allsup said.

But it wasn’t. And he was thrilled to be reunited with that small piece of metal that meant so much.

“It’s part of your identity, I guess, of when you’re over there,” Allsup told CBS 4 Denver. “So, the most impactful period of your life.”

“To be able to return this dog tag that has been separated from somebody for 30 to 40 years is just an incredible feeling,” Duan Copeland said.  He’s the UA student in charge of the project.  He’s also a veteran.

Allsup said it matters.

“It’s like some closure.  I think that’s really important.”

The VETS program has recovered 2300 dog tags, and they hope to reunite them with their rightful owners or family members.

If you lost your dog tag, check this list to see if your name is on it.

A veteran in Northcentral Wisconsin was the first vet the project matched with his dog tag.  You can watch his story here.


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