Dorothy Hollingsworth was just 7 when her brother Tom left the family farm in Indiana to join the Army a few months before the US entered World War II. She never saw him again. Now, more than 70 years after Pfc. Thomas E. Davis was killed in one of the war's final, major battles, a tangible reminder of her beloved sibling has been found on the Pacific island of Saipan—one of his Army dog tags. Cultural historian Genevieve Cabrera found the discolored metal tag sticking out of the soil of a farm field on Saipan in early 2014. It was embossed with Davis' name, serial number, hometown, and other information. Cabrera recently gave the tag to members of Kuentai, a Japan-based organization that has found the remains of soldiers on Saipan. The group notified the AP this month, and the AP tracked down Davis' family.
Davis joined the Army in September 1941 and served in the 165th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division. He earned the Silver Star on Saipan in June 1944 for risking his own life to rescue a wounded comrade. He died on April 30, 1945, after he was shot by a Japanese sniper while again helping a wounded soldier, according to what Hollingsworth says military officials told the family. Four years later, his body was brought back for reburial in his hometown. While it is relatively common to find canteens, weapons, and even unexploded shells on Saipan, dog tags remain a rare find, Cabrera says. Kuentai representatives say they'll arrange to meet the Davis family in the US to hand over the tag. Hollingsworth, 82, says a 57-year-old nephew named after Davis will likely get it. (Other tags on Saipan may belong to a missing soldier.)