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Dog tags returned after 45 years

Jan. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM   |   Comments

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A retired U.S. Marine in Florida said it is "unbelievable" that he has been reunited with the dog tags he left in Vietnam more than 45 years ago.

Officials returned the once-missing dog tags to Jim Alderman Saturday during a ceremony in east Orange County, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"I'll remember this day till the day I die," he said.

Alderman lost the tags in 1967 after he was shot in his wrist and chest. As his wounds were being treated, his boots -- which held his dog tags -- were removed and placed in a pile near a group of a dozen dead soldiers.

He said he "had enough respect for the deceased not to go through their gear" to retrieve his tags, so he was issued a new one.

More than 30 years later, a Wall Street trader traveling in Vietnam bought a lot of 100 dog tags for about $100 for someone selling them in Ho Chi Minh city, the Sentinel reported.

The New Jersey Dog Tag Committee has since been attempting to return the tags to Vietnam veterans.

"This particular thing was half-way around the world in a foreign country and it makes it back to me today?" Alderman said. "This is unbelievable. ... What are the odds?"

Topics: U.S. Marine
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