Dog Tag Returned to Veteran’s Family

Posted on March 31st, 2016 by:

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Dog Tag Returned to Veteran’s Family:

Thomas E. Davis was the hard worker of his family. He grew up with six siblings on a farm in Indiana where he milked cows and threw bales of hay. He was a nice boy, tall and skinny and always laughing or whistling. In September 1941, Thomas Davis went into the Army. He was assigned to the 165th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division, a New York National Guard unit. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the 27th Division was sent to the Pacific Theater. During the Battle of Saipan in June of 1944, Davis was awarded the Silver Star for risking his life to save a wounded comrade during an intense mortar and artillery barrage. During the battle, he also lost a dog tag on the island.

dog tag

The dog tag of Thomas Davis, Killed on Okinawa


Thomas Davis in uniform

On April 9th, 1945, Davis, along with the 27th Division landed on the island of Okinawa and quickly became engaged in heavy combat against Japanese forces. On May 30th, 1945, Thomas Davis was killed by a sniper while trying to help another wounded buddy.

Seventy years after the Battle of Saipan, historian Genevieve Cabrera found Thomas’ dog tag sticking out of the soil and gave it to Keuntai-USA, a Japanese nonprofit group that recovers the bodies of those lost in the Pacific. Kuentai, with help from the associated press and local US government officials, managed to track down the family of Thomas E. Davis and return the dog tag to them. For Hazel Priest, Thomas Davis’ sister, the return of his dog tag was bittersweet. It brought back the grief she suffered from the loss of her brother, but it also brought her family together to remember a loved one who died so long ago. For Hazel, the dog tag was a physical memento of her brother Thomas Davis, and Hazel had to kiss it.


Hazel Priest kisses the dog tag of her brother, Thomas Davis

Photo credits: Victoria Advocate and the Associated Press 

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