Skip to main content

Former Minn. man's dog tag found in Vietnam 45 years after injury

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Lake County News Chronicle has the story of a former Northland man who lost a leg during the Vietnam War – and the Australian teacher who found his dog tag 43 years later.

Lanny Martinson grew up in Knife River Valley and graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1962, the newspaper reports. He was injured at age 23 when a mine exploded in Vietnam in 1968.

“I just figured they’d gotten rid of them [tags] when they ripped off my clothes to operate on me,” Martinson told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

It was just earlier this month that Martinson decided he would order a duplicate tag online. Two days later, he got a message about Australian John Naesmith, who had discovered his tag two years ago while walking through some brush in Khe Sahn, Vietnam.

Since then, the tag made its way to several other people who tried to help track Martinson down, including with this Facebook post. Someone who saw the post found Martinson's contact information and contacted him, the Union-Tribune reported.

“The thing that amazes me most,” Martinson, now of Sugar Land, Texas, told the News Chronicle, “is that on Memorial Day, for most people it’s just a day off from work and a picnic, but this shows that people really do care.”

The story of the dog tag's long journey has drawn national attention. The Union-Tribune has an interview with the California woman who played a key role in getting it back to Martinson:

Next Up

Carson McCoy

Charges: Man stole handgun from house, fired at motorcyclists from car

A chaotic scene that led to a police chase unfolded after an alleged burglary in Ham Lake.

Mounds view 7 - crime scene

BCA's Uniform Crime Report shows violent crime in MN spiked in 2021

The report details violent crime trends in the seven-county metro and Greater Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 4.49.22 PM

Search for vulnerable man, 66, missing from Brooklyn Park

Alex Ramirez was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning.

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times writing staff hit by Gannett budget cuts

Mass layoffs were expected at Gannett-owned outlets across the country.


Pool company sued by AG for allegedly scamming homeowners out of $1M-plus

According to the lawsuit, 17 Minnesota homeowners were affected by this scam.


Late cancellation of music festival leaves bad blood in Two Harbors

The cancellation announcement says the promoter walked away from the gig after being harassed by some local residents.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

Fatal crash shuts down southbound I-35 north of Twin Cities

A massive backup has built in wake of the fatal crash.

Christopher Keyes

Prolific speeder charged in crash that killed woman, 75, in Plymouth

The man has seven speeding tickets dating back to 2019.

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.