UofA program helps return missing dog tag to Vietnam veteran

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When Vietnam veteran Bob Allsup received a letter claiming to have found his nearly 50-year-old dog tag in Vietnam, at first, he didn't believe it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) When Vietnam veteran Bob Allsup received a letter claiming to have found his nearly 50-year-old dog tag in Vietnam, at first, he didn't believe it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Indeed, Allsup was the owner, and just a few days later, the tag, still stained in the red mud of combat, was returned to its rightful owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Indeed, Allsup was the owner, and just a few days later, the tag, still stained in the red mud of combat, was returned to its rightful owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The dog tag came off Allsup's boot in 1969, the night he and his platoon were ambushed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The dog tag came off Allsup's boot in 1969, the night he and his platoon were ambushed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

When Vietnam veteran Bob Allsup received a letter claiming to have found his nearly 50-year-old dog tag in Vietnam, at first, he didn't believe it.

"We have a dog tag with the name of Robert G. Allsup on it and we're trying to run down the owner. Are you the owner of this dog tag," Allsup recalled.

Indeed, Allsup was the owner, and just a few days later, the tag, still stained in the red mud of combat, was returned to its rightful owner. 

The dog tag is more than just a piece of metal.

"Part of your identity I guess when you're over there and the events that happened. The most impactful period of your life," Allsup said.

The dog tag came off Allsup's boot in 1969, the night he and his platoon were ambushed.

"It went through here," Allsup said.

The marks on his ankles show where the bullet hit.

"Next thing you know, you're getting shot at. We were supposed to be the shooters and not get ambushed. But we got ambushed instead," Allsup said.

Allsup's dog tag is one of the 2,300 recovered dog tags that the University of Arizona's Department of Veteran's Education and Transition Services is working to return -- part of its personal effects program lead by Duan Copeland, a student and vet.

"To be able to return this dog tag that has been separated from somebody for 30-40 years is just an incredible feeling," Copeland said.

The project is close to Allsup's heart, especially for the families of those who fought and didn't make it back home.

"They'd like some closure and I think that's really important," Allsup said.

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