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Two Vietnam military dog tags returned to veterans

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 22:30:08-04

The University of Arizona Veteran's office has made it their mission to return the tags to the rightful owner after inheriting 2,300 military dog tags.

Retired United States Air Force veteran, Thomas Rhyner is 1 out of the 2 veterans who were given their dog tags. 

Last month, the University of Arizona's VETS office sent out 100 letters to veterans claiming they had their dog tags used during the Vietnam war. 

Rhyner, of Wisconsin quickly emailed the staff asking if the letter "was real and would love his dog tag back." 

The other Veteran is from California and his tags were given to his son.

"He found our website and reached out to us so we were able to return two," says graduate assistant Duan Copeland with the U of A VETS office. 

The dog tags were given to the VETS office from an organization called Tours of Peace (TOP) and were all found in Vietnam. 

Dog tags were used to identify military members if something were to happen. 

"You're given a pair of dog tags, one to wear around your neck and one to wear on your boot," says Copeland. "The TOPs program says a lot of these dog tags were recovered because the veteran themselves had a leg injury and lost the one that's in their boot."

The dog tags are returned to the veterans in the same condition that they are found. 

But returning the dog tags isn't as easy as it sounds -- Copeland says, his team has to make sure their cognizant of the emotions many of the vets may have. 

If you know someone who served in Vietnam and would like to see if the U of A has their dog tags, click here