In December 2012, Jack Hutchings, a prominent businessman in Florida, had been traveling on his yacht in the Solomonian Islands. There, the villagers gave him some American WWII dog tags they had found. He brought them home in hopes of getting them returned to the veterans/families.
Upon returning home, he stumbled across a newspaper article in the Orlando-Sentinel about the dog tag return to USMC Vietnam veteran, James Alderman. This prompted him to send the POW/MIA Awareness Committee the dog tags in hopes they could locate and return them to the veterans or their families.
One of those dog tags belong to Elias J. Padilla. Elias was born August 18, 1918 in New Mexico and he served in the Army during WWII. Unfortunately, Elias passed away in 1948.
Padilla’s son, Joe, was located in Santa Fe, NM. In a private gathering, Fred “Ironhead” Gerdes, of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Nam Knights of America, presented Joe with his fathers dog tag and coined him. Joe also shared photos of his father. See below.