ENSLEY TOWNSHIP, Mi. - A Newaygo man, who was outside raking debris from a wooded area near his home, discovered a set of military dog tags that may have belonged to a veteran from either the Korean War or World War II.
"It was in the first couple of rows of trees," said James Kilts, 48, who found the tags. "All I was doing was raking and all of a sudden the rake clinked on something."
Kilts says he reached down and picked up dirty piece of metal. After he cleaned it off, he realized it was a dog tag.
"About a week and a half later, I was doing some more raking, about 20 feet from the other spot, and I found [a second dog tag]," said Kilts.
After cleaning the tags, Kilts says he was amazed how well he could still read the engravings on them.
"These tags aren't from Vietnam," said Kilts. "After I did a Google search, they appear to be either from the Korean War or World War II.
"The name Gerald M. Johnson can clearly be read on each tag."
Kilts happens to also be a military veteran. He joined the U.S. Army in 1989 where he served as a Human Resource Sergeant. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004, and retired in 2009.
His military credentials make him more than aware of the meaning behind artifacts such as dog tags. He says he's on a personal mission to return them to Mr. Johnson himself, or hopefully one of Johnson's relatives.
"My searches for [Gerald M. Johnson] have led me nowhere," said Kilts. "I'm hoping by contacting the media the word gets out and somebody related to Mr. Johnson will come forward and claim the tags."
Kilts recently brought the dog tags to VFW Post 4249, located at 9075 Mason Dr in Newaygo. He says if anybody has information about Gerald M. Johnson, or how the dog tags can be reunited with him, they can contact the Post.
The phone number to the Post is 231-652-6159.
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