Chad Vinck, an Arizona resident and history fanatic, recently found something special while roaming in the desert with his metal detector: a set of military dog tags from 1942. He knew this discovery was special not just because of its age, but because of its importance to someone.
So, Vinck made it his mission to find the owner. After all, it's not every day you find such a personal slice of history. Most days, Vinck simply finds silverware, scrap metal or marbles.
"When I pulled it out of the ground, it was like digging up a gold bar. I was so thrilled," Vinck said. The history buff, who serves on the Peoria Arizona Historical Society board of directors, was about 150 miles west of Gila Bend when he found the tags.
According to KSDK News, the prized possession belonged to Army soldier James L. Thompson. The man fought in three major battles and lost his dog tags while training in Arizona in 1942.
Vinck took to the internet to find the tags' owner. Amazingly enough, he was able to eventually get in touch with Thompson's son. What's more shocking is that Chad's internet research only took about an hour. Three cheers for Google!
Vinck mailed them to Thompson's son in North Carolina. He also included a few other items he uncovered in that same area, in hopes they would give the son more information about his father's past.
"It means everything to us," said Bobby Thompson, the veteran's son. To return the favor, Bobby sent Vinck a few photos of his father, whom he refers to as his hero.
What a cool experience for both Vinck and the veteran's family. The desert hunter noted that the veteran's dog tags were definitely one of the best finds of his metal detecting career.