50 years ago: Lost and found dog tags

While reading a 50-year-old 25th Infantry Division newsletter I came across an incredible story about lost — and found — dog tags.

Most of us have at one time or another lost something and at a later date accidentally discovered it again.

But not everyone experiences the likes of the identification tag problems of 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Warriors Specialist 4 Jerry Smith and Private First Class George B. Tullas.

While assigned to the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry, Smith, of Jonesboro, Ark., lost his ID tags in the Crescent area near Tay Ninh City. The tags were lost in February near the Cambodian Border.

Five months later, while the Warriors were securing Highway 6A, Smith’s ID tags were found in the possession of a Vietnamese child outside of Trang Bang. Specialist Tony DeBlasio of Elmira, N. Y., noticed the tags. After recognizing the name of his fellow Warrior, DeBlasio checked out the service number, which cinched the case.

Tullas of Hallsville, Tex., had experienced a similar surprise recovery earlier. While on a RIF around Fire Support Base Pershing in October, 1968, Tullas reached for the chain that secured his ID as well as a P-38 can opener; it was then he discovered the loss.

March found him in the same general area on a similar mission. Unbelievably, Tullas retrieved his lost ID tags.

Tullas said, “I was checking the ground especially close for booby traps when I noticed something metal barely visible in the grass. I checked it out, and found my dog tags, chain and P-38 where I had lost them five months before.”

What are the odds?

Author: Chris Carter

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