Patriot Connections DOG TAG PROJECT (formerly through the POW/MIA Awareness Group) is a volunteer research organization that returns dog tags that were found in Vietnam, to veterans/families, The cost incurred in research and returning them is NEVER PASSED ON to the veterans or their family members. We do not get paid for our services. We have dog tags from several different sources. (see below for sources).
When researching/returning dog tags, we receive key identifying information from the veteran, or family. If that matches the information on the dog tag, we make arrangements to return the item. The matching information is the "claim check" so to speak. There are numerous dog tag returns underway all over the country. If you believe we may have your dog tag please contact Sue Quinn-Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-495-7270.
THE DOG TAG COLLECTIONS
MILLIGAN COLLECTION - This collection of dog tags (approx 400) journey home began in 1993 when a retired Police Chief and Vietnam Veteran (Ray Milligan), was in DaNang, Vietnam as logistics support for the medical mission called Operation Smile that travels the globe and performs corrective surgery for children with cleft palates or cleft lips, mostly in Third World countries. Milligan, is also a former Force Recon Marine. In the streets outside his hotel, he met villagers who had what appeared to be old, rusty American dog tags. He brought them home and later gave them to us (2010) to try and locate and return them. Returns are underway throughout the United States. To view list of Dog Tags in our possession, click here.
BOUGOURD COLLECTION - This collection of dogs tags journey home began after British Army/Navy veteran, Aaron Bougourd, received them from the family of Major Thien in 2006. Bougourd had been volunteering for the Father Ray Foundation Orphanage in Thialand when he met Major Thien, and helped him find his lost family in Vietnam. Thien, a South Vietnamese officer living as a refugee. Major Ly Kim Thien was commissioned as an officer of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force in 1964 and served in several capacities throughout Vietnam up until the fall of Saigon in 1975. It was after this that he was sent to a communist reeducation camp, where he was tortured and forced to denounce his anti-communist beliefs. In 1994 he escaped Vietnam on foot through Cambodia and on to Thailand, which is where Aaron Bougourd met him. Thien’s family, as a token of appreciation, gave Bougourd some dog tags they had found at Ben Hoa Air Base. Aaron, a resident of the UK, reached out and sent some of the dog tags to Patriot Connections Dog Tag Project to help return them. We have 2 left, which are in process of being returned.
SANTAYANA COLLECTION - Touring the Ho Chi Minh trail in 1998, Wall Street trader Manny Santayana stumbled onto a Vietnamese man who made a living out of extracting bombs from the ground, grinding up the metal and selling it for profit. Sometime he would stumble upon dog tags from U.S. soldiers, which he would collect and store in an ammo bag under his bed. Santayana paid him $100 for 105 dog tags and brought them back home. Over the next several years, he was able to make some returns to dog tag owners, but he eventually became too busy to continue with the research. He then enlisted the help of Senator James Beach. The collection is stored in the NJ State House. Sue Quinn-Morris has researched and returned some of this batch.To view dog tag list, click here
HUTCHINGS COLLECTION - 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 contact us in hopes that we could located and return the dog tags to the veterans/families they belong to. We have 2 left, which are in process of being returned.
* Over 100 dog tags have been reunited with the veterans/families they belonged to. Please bear with us as we update the dog tag return stories and dog tag lists *
Rich was nominated to receive the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military award, when he was a nineteen year old private first class and squad leader serving with ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. A couple of weeks shy of his twentieth birthday, in August, 1967, Rich and his platoon were sent to establish a defensive ambush position 200 yards...read more
While researching and trying to locate Danny and/or family, we ran across a friend of a friend, Billy Phillips, who served with Danny in the 282nd Assault Helicopter Co. Danny was his Crew Chief, Billy was his door gunner aboard a Huey helicopter flying out of Marble Mountain Air facility outside of DaNang in 1968-69. They flew many combat hours together, even being shot down a few times....read more
Vietnam Army veteran, Elmer Amen, served with the 11th Armored Cavalry - A TRP, 1/11 - 2/1969-2/1970. Little did he know that a dog tag he lost would make its way home to him in Woodland, CA almost 50 years later. At an emotional ceremony at the American Legion Yolo Post in California, Amen was presented with his dog tag...read more
At 16, Darlene Woodruff looked up to her soldier cousin, Army Sgt. Robert Melvin Fletcher, who wrote letters to her from the jungles of Vietnam. The thought of him not coming home never crossed her mind. But on Mother’s Day in 1968, she learned of his death. “I remember thinking — wondering — what kind of things he had faced over there as such a young man,” Woodruff said...read more
Between April 20th – 24th, 1968, men from the 1st Battalion, 327th were involved in a firefight to secure two peaks located about 27 kilometers southwest of Hue in Vietnam. 26 Americans were killed. One of those men, Jackie Dale Walker, had just recently celebrated his birthday – on April 7th, 1968, he turned 19 - the last birthday he would ever see....read more
Palatka, Florida – Vietnam Marine Tanker Veteran, Ron Colucci, and his wife Carol Colucci, left New Jersey on a flight bound for Florida – on a mission – to return Colucci’s Tanker brother, Jack Hahn’s dog tag. The Colucci’s, along with friend Wes Barnett and members of the VFW Post 7909 in Jacksonville, made the trek down to Palatka to present Hahn with his dog tag at the VFW Post 3349. In addition to members of both VFWs, the District Commander was also in attendance..read more
John Crazy Bear, who served 22 years in the Marine Corps and fought in three wars, was reunited with dog tags he lost in Vietnam. In the presence of his son and loved ones and in honor of his 81st birthday, three Delaware Valley Chapter Nam Knights presented Crazy Bear with his dog tags aboard Camp Lejeune Saturday following morning colors.“This is an honor I never expected,” said Crazy Bear, kissing the dog tags and overcome with emotion....read more
Edward Raiche, was born in New Hampshire in 1947. He went on to serve in the Army in Vietnam (1968 – 1970). Unfortunately, shortly after coming home, Edward died in a boat accident while duck hunting in Great Bay, NH. And now, after all these years, a relic of Edward Raiche’s time in Vietnam has made its way home – his dog tag. It was returned to his sister along with a folded American Flag in an emotional presentation at Lorraine’s home in Nashua, NH....read more
The tarnished dog tag was a relic from a war that ended 43 years ago, but Robert Dickson Jr. is keeping it in a black velvet pouch like a fine jewel. For Rob Dickson, Hutchinson, it’s something tangible he can hold on to, helping to connect him with his father, Robert Dickson Sr., a man he hardly knew. The phone call came out of the blue and was a bit bewildering....read more
It’s unclear when Raymond Spalding lost his dog tags in Vietnam. But there, while serving our country, some 50 years ago, USMC Lance Corporal Spalding, a qualified Sharpshooter, lost one. After returning home from Vietnam, married his long time sweetheart, Teresa, and worked for Ford Motor Company for over 30 years. Unfortunately, he passed away on September 2, 2005. Nearly 50 years since Spalding served in Vietnam, his dog tag was delivered to his wife...read more
Jack Hutchings, a prominent businessman in Florida, gave us some dog tags found by villagers in the Solomonian Islands - one of which belonged to WWII Army veteran Elias Padilla. Unfortunately Elias passed away at a young age in 1948. Our research led us to his son Joe Padilla in New Mexico. In a private gathering, Fred “Ironhead” Gerdes, presented his Joe with his fathers dog tag ..read more
John Early Leavister, a Marine, served his country in Vietnam – leaving behind a piece of his history behind – his dog tag. Last week, his son, John, got a surprising friend request on Facebook – a woman claiming to have his fathers dog tag. His father had passed away in 1996, at the age of 51. We returned John's fathers dog tag to his son in NC...read more
On June 29, 2016, Gregg Hodge received something he probably never thought he would get – his deceased brothers dog tag. Over 20 years ago, the dog tag of Vietnam Army Veteran Junior Hodge was brought back from Vietnam. along with over 400 other dog tags, by a retired Chief of Police officer from West Deptford, NJ. He had been in Vietnam as logistics support for the medical mission called Operation Smile....read more
Chandler, AZ. – USMC Vietnam Veteran, William Queale and the son of deceased Vietnam veteran, Russell Farver, were presented with a piece of the past – from nearly a half a century ago. Dog tags. Members of the Nam Knights of America MC returned the dog tag at the American Legion Post 91 in Chandler, AZ. J.D. Geiser, the Commander of the American Legion Post 91 and many of the Posts members were present...read more
Relics of a war, just small tabs of metal stamped with a soldier’s name, rank, serial number and other pertinent information. For collectors, the dog tags didn’t have much meaning, but for the veterans from the Vietnam War, the tags represent more than most of us can fathom. At the VFW Post 1425, in Plymouth, PA, Bernie Mihenski was presented with the dog tag he lost in Vietnam....read more
Rodney Wesley Botelho, was born August 9, 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduating from St Louis High School in Hawai’i, he went to college in Indiana at Purdue University and then transferred to USC in Southern California where he played football. After graduating from college, he received his commission as a 2nd Lt. in the USMC in 1960 at Quantico, VA. He served for 21 ½ years and retired as a Lt. Col. In 1982....read more
Through research and conversations with his mother, Jeff and Andrew found out all about their father’s years in Vietnam. Richard earned two Purple Heart medals for his service in the Army in the late 1960s. “For us to see them bring the dog tags and make such a big deal and drive them down here for us ....read more