Cheryl Hall (second from left) puts the dog tag of Bill Ritenour around the neck of Bob Pavlik, while Rick Bentley (left) and Ron Colucci watch at Flatline Customs in Castle Hayne on May 16, 2012. Colucci had driven down from New Jersey to give the tag to Pavlik who will personally deliver the tag to Ritenour at his home in Greenville.
Dog tags returning to Vietnam veteran after 40 years
By Julian March
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
A Vietnam veteran who lost his dog tags more than 40 years ago is closer to being reunited with them.
On Tuesday morning, a motorcycle rolled up to the Flatline Customs cycle shop in Castle Hayne. The rider carried the dog tags belonging to Bill Ritenour, a retired police chief living in Greenville. Ritenour served as a Marine in Vietnam from 1965 to 1969 and lost his tags while on patrol, according to a story on powmiaawareness.org.
In the early 1990s, a former Marine traveling in Vietnam on behalf of Operation Smile bought more than 400 dog tags from a vendor outside his hotel. Ritenour’s eventually reached the POW/MIA Awareness Committee of New Jersey.
The organization is trying to help get the dog tags hand-delivered to each veteran by a fellow veteran.
In Southeastern North Carolina, the Cape Fear chapter of the Nam Knights Motorcycle Club received the dog tags and will deliver them to Ritenour, said Bob Pavlik, the club’s president.
Pavlik has already talked to Ritenour, who is excited about the return of his dog tags, he said.
Sometime during the next week, Pavlik will ride his Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson to Greenville to present the tags to Ritenour.
Until then, they’ll be around his neck.
Julian March: 343-2099
On Twitter: @julian_march