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World War II dog tags may solve 70-year-old mystery

Dog Tags Could Solve 70-Year-Old Mystery

A small find in the South Pacific could solve a big mystery for one American family.

A pair of old and battered dog tags belonged to U.S. Army Private Bernard Gavrin who was reported missing in action in 1944 during the battle of Saipan. No one ever knew what happened.

But the Sun Sentinel reports Gavrin's family might be closer to solving the 70-year-long mystery thanks to a group from Japan that searches for soldiers' remains. They found the tags in a cave on the island and told Gavrin's family.

81-year-old David Rogers, Gavrin's nephew who was 12 when he disappeared, told the Sentinel, "Words cannot do justice to the shock this news left me with. A lot of American soldiers were pushed into the ocean. We thought he drowned. Now we know that wasn't the case."

The remains are now in Hawaii for genetic testing to confirm that they are Gavrin's, if so - Rogers says he plans to hold a military funeral at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC.

This is far from the first time dog tags have turned up decades later.... A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant lost his dog tags in Vietnam 46 years ago but found them last year... on Facebook.

And a veteran in New York received his tags in the mail from a woman in France 69 years after he lost them in a farm field.

Join the discussion

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supermat1 April 21 2014 at 1:59 PM

Thank you for your service and sacrifice Pvt. Gavrin.
God Bless you and everyone else who have served our great nation.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
JTalltrees1 April 21 2014 at 5:49 PM

Find my uncles submarine the ss triton 201,sank of the soloman islands during the war!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
TOXICWASTECF April 21 2014 at 4:39 PM

God bless him and his family and ALL of our men and women in uniform.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
jayjaycoop April 21 2014 at 4:36 PM

I was traveling west on Grant Blvd, and saw an aproaching police car coming with his lights flashing. As he got closer, the police car turned into Woodlawn Cemetary. I stopped, put on my blinkers, got out, and cam to a right hand salute, as the procession continued on. A few moments later that soldier returned to my position, and asked me to come into the cemetary. One member of the deceased soldiers family asked me if I knew that soldier. I said no. He asked why did come to a right hnd salute, I explained that I was in the Navy for three years, and this was our duty to stop, come to a salute for a veteran.
My great grandfather shook hands with Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, I had two uncles in the Army & Navy during WWII. My Dad served two years in France during WW I.
Standing in reverence as a military procession passes, is the least we can do to honor a dead soldier. John from Eastwood 13206

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Brenda April 21 2014 at 4:19 PM

Our Veterans, alive or deceased, deserve America's support, honor and respect. (It makes no difference "what war" they served in.)

My father was in WW2. The dairy, he kept during the war, told of the horrors he'd seen and went through. Dad served in North Africa and Italy. He always said the those who served in the Pacific had it much worse.

General Patton was someone dad looked up to. He never had much good to say about politicians.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
ChingOW Mango April 22 2014 at 12:12 AM

What was U. S. Army Private Bernard Gavin doing in a cave? How did he die? Maybe he did drown and was washed into the cave. This is very interesting but I would like to have learned a little more about Private Gavin.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Bobby Ardoin April 21 2014 at 3:27 PM

A Japanese group found the remains? Where are the American groups? Shouldn't America also be looking for remains of their soldiers?

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1 reply
moeelmore Bobby Ardoin April 21 2014 at 3:33 PM

There is a standing organization with that mission - lots of places to search and today Saipan is not under our control.

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1 reply
Steve Schiffman moeelmore April 21 2014 at 7:34 PM

Saipan is an American owned possession. What do you mean "not in our control"?

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YourFtr April 21 2014 at 3:01 PM

I think it was at Saipan where a lot of the US fleet helped our forces to land....
but the Japanese fleet sortied in response.....
The next day a Marine at the top of the hill didn't see one US navy ship anywhere around the island....
So he thought something must be going on....because we might have been abandoned !!??

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3 replies
ddstan1120 April 21 2014 at 2:04 PM

Bring our fallen heroes home, no matter how long they have been missing.
To give your life for your country is the ultimate sacrifice, and these people are deserving of our highest respect.
Private Gavrin deserves nothing less!

Flag Reply +29 rate up
1 reply
moeelmore ddstan1120 April 21 2014 at 3:43 PM

OH BS. I told the guys not to much worry about it if I were dead. We have a number of cemetaries overseas full or our honored dead. Quite a few unknowns as well. I visited some over the years. Leave them alone. On a small island off Okinawa I found a large urn full of the ashes of dead Japanese soldiers -- I left them alone and the locals did too.
Wounded or a prisoner? yeah I would expect them to keep on trying. To me its just as good to be buried in the land upon which a person was fighting as to return. Maybe families need it, but IMHO the dead just need to be buried and allowed to lie in peace.

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Del April 21 2014 at 5:14 PM

Why is it a surprise that a soldiers dog tags were found. The Vietnamese are selling U S Dog tags on EBAY for $9.00 each! They are also selling Service members personalized Zippo Lighters. Where is the outrage over that! How many dog tags are put up for sale that belong/ed to MIA's etc. I don't think EBay should sell those items until all missing servicemen are accounted for! Sign me a former Marine Corps Vet, and always remember Viet vets are not "Fonda", Jane!!!!

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6 replies
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