A Michigan woman whose World War II veteran father died in 1983 says she got the surprise of her life in the form of a phone call informing her that her father’s dog tag had been found by a man in the United Kingdom.
“My first reaction was like, who in the heck and what in the heck and how did you all find me, a normal reaction,” Maurine Carethers-Tate told ABC News. “After I sat down and thought about and I talked with the Lord about it, I said, ‘Well maybe this is something that needs to be done.’”
The phone call to Carethers-Tate, of River Rouge, Mich., came last week from a reporter at The Detroit Free Press. The newspaper had been contacted after a local newspaper in Wales ran a story about Barrie Jones, the Wales man who found the dog tag belonging to Carethes-Tate’s father, Thurmond Carethers.
“It was just sticking out of the top of the earth,” Jones, who could not be reached today by ABC News, told the Free Press. “I could see straight away what it was.”
Jones told the newspaper he found the dog tag after doing construction work on his home in Swansea. He said he spent years trying to find the owner of the identification tag, which still had the words “Detroit Mich” and “Carethers” visible, as well as most of Carethers’ military identification numbers.
In Michigan, Carethers-Tate says she had heard “a whole lot of stuff” about her father’s four years of service with the U.S. Army but did not know many details about his dog tag.
“I didn’t know anything about anything except for the fact that when I was younger, he did tell me that he had lost his dog tags,” she told ABC News.
The Free Press reports that Carethers’ dog tag could have been lost in Wales because that area served as a training ground for American troops leading up to D-Day, the 70th anniversary of which is being marked today.
Carethers-Tate says she has not yet heard exactly when or how the dog tag will be returned to her but says she plans to store it with the rest of her father’s paperwork in a chest in her home.
“As far as I know, they are going to return them to me,” said Carethers-Tate, the youngest of her father’s three biological children and one of two surviving children. “The individual that found them, he can send them to me. I’d like to meet him.”
“I’ve always felt connected to my father,” she said.