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Vietnam veteran's dog tag found in rice field, returned to family 57 years later: 'Means the world'

The family of =late Vietnam veteran USMC Corporal Larry Hughes received his dog tag on Friday, Feb. 17, after the ID was lost in the Da Nang Province of Vietnam 57 years ago.

The family of a late Vietnam veteran received a piece of their loved one's time in the Marine Corps decades later on Friday, FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported.

In 1966, USMC Corporal Larry Hughes lost his dog tag while serving near the Da Nang Province in Vietnam. Hughes was a humble man who didn't talk much about his service, according to his son Carl, and never said a word about losing the important piece of identification.

In October 2022, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and Notre Dame Professor Michael Desch took a group of students to visit the province. While exploring near an airstrip used by the U.S. military, a villager approached them and said he had six dog tags that were found plowing rice fields over the years.

Desch said the villager had one of the tags on a keychain, so he asked if they could have it to bring it back to the states. The man obliged, and the tag made its way back to America.


Webb, a former Navy secretary, got to work locating the person it belonged to. After finding out Hughes had died, Webb discovered the veteran's son and sister were alive in Levy County, Florida.

"I was like, ‘we need to find this person.’ It's so symbolic," Webb told FOX 13.

In a joint effort with the Pentagon, Webb arranged for the dog tag to be brought to Hughes's family in Inglis, Florida.


Patricia Hughes Prickett said she couldn't believe it and receiving her brother's ID was like "a step back in time."

"I was always so proud of Larry," she said. "There was never a moment when I was not proud of him, and I'm just glad that he's been recognized." 

His family said getting the special piece back five decades later from a place halfway around the world that used to be enemy territory is a "lesson" for us all.

"The two sides hated each other, and look how they come together now, how quickly you can build that friendship, that bond," Carl said. "And that's what the world needs, is everybody can get along and love each other."

Hughes reportedly never explained to his family why he didn't say much about his time in Vietnam, but his sister believes it might have to do with feeling like his service was not appreciated by some at the time.

Prickett said it "means the world" that the Vietnam veterans are finally getting the recognition they did not get before.

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