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Australian man returns WWII dog tag to Indiana veteran’s family on D-Day

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WAVELAND, Ind. – A family in Indiana will finally be reunited with their father’s lost dog tag, and the news could not have come on a more appropriate day!

The story of the lost dog tag begins in 1941 when Elmer V. Sneath, of Wisconsin, joined the army following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was part of the 32nd Infantry Division formed from units from Wisconsin and Michigan.

The division spent some time training at Camp Cable in Brisbane, Australia before moving on to fight the Japanese.

After the war, Sneath returned to Wisconsin where he married Florence Blanch Montgomery. The couple moved to Westfield, Indiana, and that’s where Sneath called home for the remainder of his life. Sneath died on November 12, 1994.

Fast forward to September 2015… Barry McDonald, of Brisbane, Australia, was searching with his metal detector when he found a partial dog tag. The tag was imprinted with Sneath’s name, and McDonald immediately started searching for the family.

Through the help of Angelo’s Angels WWII Dog Tag Return Project, McDonald was able to find Sneath’s son Gale on Facebook. McDonald sent Gale a Facebook message, but unfortunately the message went to Gale’s “other” folder.

The message went unread for nine months.

On Monday, June 6, the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, Gale’s wife September was using his phone to send a “Happy Anniversary” message to his son when she noticed Gale had an unread message.

She read McDonald’s message about the dog tag, and they were both in disbelief. “It truly brings a spiritual glow on D-Day that we found such a surprise,” September told FOX59.

Gale and September spoke with McDonald over the phone, and they arranged for the dog tag to be sent from Australia to Indiana. September says McDonald didn’t want any money to ship the dog tag; the satisfaction of reuniting the dog tag with the rightful owners was enough for him.

McDonald says he was “over the moon” when he finally got in contact with the Sneath family, and he sent them the dog tag the same day.

McDonald told FOX59, “It’s nothing to me; it’s just a piece of metal. But you would have thought I gave them a great big box of treasure as opposed to an itty bitty piece of metal. That’s how excited they were.”

Gale contacted all of his sisters, and the entire Sneath family is thankful for McDonald’s good deed.

This is the second dog tag McDonald has been able to return to its rightful owners. McDonald says he’s found about 20 dog tags in the Brisbane area, and he’s continuing to work with Angelo's Angels WWII Dog Tag Return Project to return them all to their rightful owners.