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: