The Battle of Saipan was a turning point in the Allied war against Japan. US Private First Class Thomas Davis earned a Silver Star for risking his life to rescue an injured comrade during the bloody fight – and apparently, he also lost his dog tag.
Flash forward 70 years, to 2014, when historian Genevieve Cabrera found his tag sticking out of the soil on a farm.
Davis’ name, serial number, and hometown were still clearly visible on the discolored piece of metal.
World War II dog tag belonging to an American soldier has been found on a Pacific island https://t.co/ZU3QdAS8zZ
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 21, 2016
Davis didn’t make it out of the Pacific Theater. In 1945, he was killed by a sniper in Okinawa while, yet again, helping a wounded soldier.
But now the dog tag he lost on the battlefield is heading home to his family in Indiana.
Cabrera gave the tag to the Japanese charity Kuentai, which reunites families with remnants from deceased soldiers.
With the help of the Associated Press and an Indiana library, they were able to track down members of Davis’ family and hope to reunite them with the tag shortly.
Dorothy Hollingsworth née Davis was just seven years old the last time she saw her brother Thomas, who was 17 years older than her. She says the tag will be given to her brother’s 57-year-old nephew who was named after Thomas.
Davis joined the army in September 1941, three months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and was a member of the 165th Infantry Regiment from the 27th Infantry Division.
Four years after Davis’ death in Okinawa, his remains were returned home for burial.
Originally from Roachdale in Putnam County, Indiana, Davis grew up on a farm. His sister described him as “always laughing and singing and whistling”.
Kuentai last year returned the remains of four soldiers killed in the Battle of Saipan to the US for burial.