While conducting one of her usual walks, a woman was delighted to see something sticking out of the soil that caught her attention. However, things would take quite a turn as she removed it from the earth and realized that she accidentally just solved a 70-year-old mystery.
It all started when cultural historian Genevieve Cabrera saw something out of place in the dirt back in 2014 as she walking along a farm field in Saipan — a U.S. commonwealth island in the Western Pacific. Upon further inspection, she realized it was a discolored metal tag.
Come to find out, it belonged to Pfc. Thomas E. Davis, who was actually a war hero that died during WWII, but his death didn’t occur on Saipan. The island where the historian found the relic was actually the site where he earned one of the military’s highest honors.
According to the Associated Press:
Davis earned the Silver Star on Saipan in June 1944 for risking his own life to rescue a wounded comrade “at a time when the American front was undergoing brutal Japanese artillery and mortar fire.”
Apparently, courage was built into Thomas’s DNA, and this wasn’t his last act of bravery before his unfortunate death. Approximately three weeks into the Okinawa invasion, which began on April 1, 1945, he “was shot by a Japanese sniper while again helping a wounded soldier” and died from his injuries that day.
However, when his body was returned for burial about 4 years later, his family only received one dog tag with it. Since the discovery of the dog tag, Ms. Cabrera has most recently turned over the artifact to the Kuentai, a Japan-based organization that has found the remains of five 27th Division soldiers on Saipan.
Luckily, they were able to track down Thomas’s living family and are set on delivering the dog tag personally to the family in the United States. There aren’t too many people who would go out of their way to return something so small. That being said, the family sees the matter as no small feat and are more than ecstatic to finally have the the dog tag home where it belongs.