John Dodds, a self-described military buff and retired member of the Air Force reserve, said he was shopping at a Goodwill store when his daughter called him over to view a leather jacket she found.
The jacket was a little stiff but was in good shape and had a name -- Robert G. Arand -- on a leather nametag sewn on the front, Stars and Stripes reported Saturday.
Dodd said he paid $17 for the jacket and initially wanted to keep it, but knew he needed to find out its story.
Within 24 hours he was on the phone with 90-year-old Arand -- a former member of the Air Forces' 22nd Bombardment Group -- who told him the last time he wore the jacket was in November 1945 in San Francisco when he returned home from the war.
Arand said he thinks his wife donated it to a charity organization in Cincinnati in 1950.
"I remember my wife asking if I was ever going to wear it again, and I said I didn't think I would, except for a veterans' parade," he said.
Dodd said he's returning the jacket to its rightful owner.
"My children and grandchildren are anxious to see it," Arand said.