WWII Vet Ronald F. Gaines Reunited With His Dog Tag After More Than 7 Decades
The WWII veteran lots his dog tag more than 70 years ago in Italy.
A small piece of history, and of Robert Gaines' identity, has been returned to him more than 70 years after he served his country in Europe during World War II.
The 97-year-old Virginia man long wondered he'd lost his Army dog tag. He enlisted at age 19 and his first military job was driving a truck in Italy. That's where he figured it had been misplaced.
His children often heard stories about how Gaines lost his official military ID while toiling in what to them was an ancient war. They didn't much about the tag until they were contacted by an Italian family.
They had found the ID buried in their garden in Italy. Since the 1980s, they had been trying to find the owner but had no luck. But after new technology emerged, they were able to track down some members of the Gaines family in upstate New York.
And they contacted Gaines' grown children in Norfolk, where the tag was mailed.
Their dad doesn't remember things well at his advanced age. But his eyes lit up when he was handed the piece of metal bearing his name, rank, blood type and serial number.
"At this particular point he doesn't realize a lot of things," explained Gaines' son, Frankie. "But just to see him hold onto those dog tags and reflect on the things that he does remember. I was really exciting to me. It means a lot."
Trending on Inside Edition
California Pinball Museum Auctioning 1,700 Games After Closing Its Doors, Collection Could Fetch $7MEntertainment
For the Journalists Who Reported on 9/11, Work That Day Was Personal: 'I'm a New Yorker and It Affected Me'Human Interest
Retired Flight Attendant Walks From Boston to New York City to Honor 9/11 Victims While Pushing CartInspirational
Man Dies After Getting Pinned by His Own Car in Freak Accident at McDonald's Drive-ThruOffbeat
The Lessons a New York Woman Whose Bakery Became a Safe Haven on 9/11 Has Kept Close to Her Heart Ever SinceHuman Interest