The mission is to return dog tags that were found in Vietnam. Our goal is to see that the dog tags get back to the veterans they belong to or their family (if the veteran is deceased). If you believe we have your dog tag, or know of who one may belong to, please contact us.
WHERE THE DOG TAGS CAME FROM
The collection of dog tags was brought back from Vietnam by retired Chief of Police (Deptford, NJ) Ray Milligan in 1993. Milligan was a volunteer with a group called Operation Smile, a medical mission that travels the globe and performs corrective surgery for children with cleft palates or cleft lips, mostly in Third World countries. Milligan, a former Force Recon Marine who’d served in Vietnam, had gone to Vietnam as logistics support coordinator for the medical program.
There, in the small shops that lined the streets outside his hotel, vendors were selling what appeared to be old, rusty American dog tags as relics of the war. He purchased them and brought them home. Over the years, he was able to return some of the dog tags with the help of some local veterans organizations in NJ.
In 2010 Ray Milligan gave the dog tag collection to the POW/MIA Awareness Committee of NJ.(We also aid in Senator Beach’s NJ Dog Tag Committee – information about the collection of dog tags in the holding of Senator Beach can be found by clicking here)
DOG TAG RETURNS
Over the last couple of years, the POW/MIA NJ Awareness Committees Director of Research, Sue Quinn-Morris, has reunited dog tags with veterans and their families through research and coordination, with the help of the Nam Knights of America and several other veterans organizations.
“What we have done different with this project since receiving the dog tags is to ensure that each dog tag, when welcomed, is hand delivered to the veteran, or to their family, by a veteran,” Quinn-Morris stated.
“Sending them in the mail just seems so impersonal – the veteran opening his mail, his dog tag dropping out – left there, alone, to deal with whatever memories may arise , and quite frankly, too reminiscent of how our Vietnam veterans were received when they came home – no thank you, and no support.” Quinn-Morris continued.
The dog tags are returned by a veteran – brother to brother. Whether a small private hand off, or a more public return, each dog tag return is handled according to what the veteran is comfortable with.
ORGANIZATIONS HELPING WITH THE DOG TAG PROJECT
The Nam Knights of America MC, which is a Military and Veteran Motorcycle Club, came onboard with the project at its onset and continues to handle dog tag returns. To date their chapters have handled returns in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Tennessee, Connecticut and Michigan. For more information about the Nam Knights of America, visit their website at http://www.namknights.org.
Additionally, the following organizations have and continue to aid the POW/MIA Awareness Committee of NJ with the return of the dog tags; Warriors Watch, Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, American Legions and VFWs.
It is essential to the Project that the dog tags are handled and delivered to the veterans and/or their families in a dignified manner. Our trusted partners aid in this – from the moment the dog tag is handed off to one of our partners, to the moment it reaches the hand of the veteran, the dog tag is well cared for and attended to, to ensure that it arrives to the veteran/family safely.
There are numerous dog tag returns underway all over the country.
The POW/MIA Awareness Committee welcomes any help in finding the veterans/families that the dog tags belong to. The full list of dog tags can be found on our website.
Contact Sue Quinn-Morris / 856-495-7270 / email@example.com