News Article

Newark Vet Gets Back Dog Tag Lost During World War II

By Monica Miller, WBGO News
Newark. May 8, 2013

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World War II Vet Willie Wilkins dog tag returned at Newark City Hall

May 8th marks the day fighting ended in Europe during World War II. One Newark veteran has had something precious returned to him lost on the battlefield that went missing almost 70 years ago.

Army Corporal Willie Wilkins had one of the toughest jobs in the military. His daughter Carol says he was responsible for finding the dog tags of the deceased and burying their remains.

“All he knew to do was to pick up those bodies for the families of the dead soldiers.”

Yet in 1944, the man responsible for finding the ID tags lost his own on the battlefield.  GI Go Fund’s Jack Fanous says in a rare moment in history, they were discovered more than a decade ago by a French woman who was gardening.

“… and underneath an olive tree, what more appropriate symbol than that an international sign of peace, she found Mr. Wilkinson’s dog tags.”        

She thought the soldier was dead, but a neighbor urged her to try to find its owner. Carol Wilkins says she’s happy her sick father is alive to hold the dented piece of metal in his hands once again.

“It means a lot that he served in the war. He did his job. A lot of people can’t look back on their life and say they did anything.”        

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