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Military dog tags returned to family of WWII veteran on what would have been his 100th birthday

Dog Tags.jpg
Posted at 11:40 PM, Jun 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 11:37:28-04

It was a fitting ceremony to honor what would have been the 100th birthday of World War II Veteran Staff Sergeant Jackson Edward McGill.

After being lost more than 78 years ago, McGill's dog tags were returned home to his family in Indiana.

McGill served in WWII as a 'Radio Man', helping with the liberation of France, but little else is known about his time in the service.

McGill's daughter and grandson say he was secretive and didn't share many details about that time with them.

"For some reason we couldn't find anything out," Karen McGill said of her father's time at war. "We still don't know where he was hurt, how he was hurt."

But they did learn a few things about his tours, including his incredible survival after not one - but three plane crashes.

"He was in three plane crashes, only survivor twice," Matt McGill said of his grandfather. "We think that's maybe why... he was so secretive about it. Plus, the other horrors of war."

At some point during his tour, McGill lost his dog tags.

A gardener in France found those tags 30 years ago and carried them until he could find an American to help return them home.

"And he told me that he had found it almost 30 years ago in his garden and had it in his wallet hoping someday to meet an American whom he could give the dog tag to and perhaps maybe that American might be able to find the family of the service member and return it to them," Retired Lt. Col. Valerie Prehoda with the United States Marine Corp. said.

Prehoda did her research after receiving the tag and learned that Sgt. McGill passed away in 2014 and that he was buried at the Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson.

After making contact McGill's family, Prehoda arranged for the tags to be returned on his 100th birthday along with a service honoring McGill's service.