Dear Miss Cucolo, I composed a book 2006 on the history of
Camp Tophat in Antwerp/Belgium. The camp was set up at the end of WW2 to repatriate the American forces and some 270.000 men used between june 1945 and april 1946 this gate home. The men waited for their ship varying from a week to two monts. They camped in tents and of cource a lot of equipment was lost during these days. Three friends of mine have searched the area with metal detectors, which is stil unhabited, and found an amazing collection of wartime souvenirs among a handfull of dogtags.
For the book I made some research and found back 3 of the former dogtag owners. (Surprisingly one married an Antwerp girl !!) I do not know if these stories fit in Your research but let me know. I'll send also a copy of my correspondence with the daughter of Alvin Macload. Kind regards from Antwerp/Belgium
Follow up e-mail from the daughter... >> Hello,
>> Recently while visiting my mother in St. Augustine Florida, I was
> contacted by Michael Isam regarding my father's dog tags. Mr. Isam said
> you had found them in Belgium. What an incredible surprise. He had some
> wonderful memories of being in Europe during his youth despite the war. He
> often talked about how kind the people in Belgium and France were to the
> soldiers. My dad died 4 years ago, but I know my mother would love to have
> them. Please contact me at the above email address.
>> Diane MacLeod Runkle
Name of Dog Tag Owner Jill Sanders Crider
Name of Family _Sanders____________1) Whose Dog Tags do you have?
Name:__Arnold Welton Sanders______
2) Under what circumstances did you receive the Dog Tags? Upon his death in 2003 Where do you keep them? My mother has them in an heirloom box at her home.
3) What stories do you remember about your family member wearing them? My dad wore them all the time, even long after he retired from active duty and continued as a civil service employee. 4) Do you know how the family member felt about the Dog Tags? Yes_xx_____ No ______ If yes, please share their feelings. He treasured them as though they were a badge of honor. I know much of his identity was tied to his service in the military. 5) What are your feelings and thoughts concerning the Dog Tags? I treasure them as well. They always bring back such fond memories of him every time I take them out of the heirloom box.
My Dog Tags just hung around my neck, one of them waiting for the notch to be inserted in my mouth if I came back horizontally on day in 1951 or 1952, and Infantryman in Korea who carried his M-1 without too much bitching.
Stanley J Serxner
Found a Dog Tag with the name GE Ogilvie on it. He is still looking for this man, or his family. If you have any connection, please let me know, so that I can help him find the family.
Here is one for your book. You can entitle it "Revenge for the Whore Inspection."
I was stationed north of Seoul living in a tent in the middle of a stinking rice paddy fertilized with night soil. This was in 1952 or 1953. We had a new second lieutenant, the youngest graduate ever of West Point and he was an arrogant SOB. One night when he was Captain of the Guard a woman from the nearby village came to the company gate and claimed that a GI had beat her up in her "comfort house" and she wanted to file charges against him. LT. A.S. told her to go away. She, in turn, called him 'less than a man' and many other such terms. His manhood was challenged so he thereupon called a full company inspection, at 3 a.m. so this whore could inspect the troops and identify the one who aaulted her. Everyone was roused out of sleep to stand inspection. The woman, with Lt. A.S. at her side walked up and down the line of soldiers standing at attention. She failed to identify the soldier who committed the assault, probably for fear of her life. We were all allowed to go back to bed after what became known as "the whore inspection."
Not many weeks later my house boy said he had something for me. It was Lt. A.S.'s dog tags. I asked him where he got them and he said that the woman who filed the complaint at the gate and inspected the troops at 3 a.m. took them from the Lt. when he visited her bed and now she wanted us to decide how we wanted to return them to the Lt. The guys in my tent discussed the matter and we decided to secure the dog tags around the neck of our company dog. Finally the company commander learned that the dog had Lt. A.S.'s dog tags and called the Lt. in to enquire if he had his dog tags and wanted to know how they got on the company dog. How he explained his way out of that matter we never knew but the entire company, and probably the C.O. finally knew the true story.
George F. Drake, (Sgt.) Korean War Veteran
This is a different kind of dog tag story. When I was having mine done every thing was going smoothly until the question about religion was asked. "Atheist" I said. Baptists were kind of short on theology at the time and I'd been force feed dogma ("Believe this because I say so!" and hectored into going to church and being baptized. To me it was like being told to join up and sign on before I had an understanding of what this "religion" thing was all about. I wasn't a Doubting Thomas as much as an Inquiring Thomas. I'd see people doing the same dance steps when the Holy Ghost hit them on Sunday morning as they did on Saturday night. And, some of the biggest sinners seemed to be right in there with there with the biggest shouters. Plus, I never liked the story of the Prodigal Son ended. The one who was steady got no recognition at all. One of my grandmothers was Catholic, as was the cousin the same age as me that she was raising. I used to read all the comic books he had about the lives of the saints. Catholics had a better rap but the only black saint they had at the time was Saint Martin de Porres--and he seemed kind of wimpy. I didn't see much sense in joining a group where I didn't have much chance of reaching the top of the heap. Especially one about something as serious and important as God and eternity. That didn't stop me from asking my Grandmother for a Crucifix that I wore to
Nam. And lost.
Heaven always seemed to be an eternal drag to me, though. I'd know what to do in hell: Raise hell trying to overthrow the Devil. Didn't see why that couldn't done--the VC had taught me that if you took your losses and kept punching you always hands a chance. My dog tags ended up saying "No religious preference"--which was true. Later on I refined that to what God was was everything, every where, all at once that ever is, was and would be and how it all fit together and worked. Haven't gotten all the details on that--which doesn't bother me. If I did know, you know who I'd be. I didn't need no stinking batches--or dog tags. Who ever was going to remember me was going to remember me and the tags really weren't going to confirm my death any way. About all dog tags could do for me was to save time for some medic, nurse or doctor as to whether I took high test, regular, unleaded or diesel. God is what God is and does what God does and I get to deal with it. Seems like people are more worried about what your interpretation is and your practices are than God is. By the time I'd left Nam, I'd finished breaking at least nine commandments. But if God was just I still had a chance. And any way, "God" has the whole universe to deal with and already knows who and what I am, supposedly. Which can?t be all that much, in the ultimate scheme of things?
Believe, repent and be baptized seemed like too much of an easy cop out. No point in fearing that. Respect and enjoy the trip but don't fear. Scared or uncertain is okay, though. Why bull shit yourself or try to fool God? Most folks can't even jive the Devil or time and God's all that and more. We'll just have to die and find out what the real deal is--maybe. I hear they?ve closed limbo--or was it purgatory? Die and find that out too, I guess. Just be cool doing it. By the time you figure it all out, it don't mean nothing--or at least not much.