Local Vietnam vet's dog tag returned decades later - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Local Vietnam vet's dog tag returned decades later

Former Marine Charles Saffles displays the dog tag he hadn't seen since serving in Vietnam in the 1960s. (FOX5) Former Marine Charles Saffles displays the dog tag he hadn't seen since serving in Vietnam in the 1960s. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

It took nearly 50 years, but a local former Marine has been reunited with a piece of his past.

Charles Saffels was 18 when he enlisted in the Marines, fighting in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. He was hit by a grenade, leaving the entire left side of his body numb.

"They dressed my wound and then cut my boot off. We always have a dog tag in our boot in case of death – you're identifiable. Well, they cut mine off and left it in the jungle," Saffels said. "To me and most veterans, it's a major piece of our life."

The dog tag is something Saffels never thought he'd see again.

"I never expected to see 21, let alone my age, 67," he said. "This dog tag showing up, it just sparked life again."

The tag was returned to him by Bryan Marks. Ten years ago, Marks was vacationing in Vietnam when he discovered thousands of dog tags. He made it his mission to return each one to its owner or the soldier's family.

"When I was 18, I was just a kid. That seems really young to me to be going over to a place where you're watching your friends die and possibly being put in a position where you have to kill people. So it's a lot of stress on someone so young. It's just a way of saying thanks to the veterans who actually went over there and served," Marks said.

"Vietnam is always in your head. It's always in mine. I never forget it. I'm the only survivor out of my patrol, so it's pretty important to me," Saffels said.

Saffels said soldiers typically have two dog tags. He gave the other one to his daughter when she was a baby. She died three years ago, but he wanted it to remain with her.

Now that he has the other one, he said he'll never take it off again.

Copyright 2014 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Clinton stars as central villain in GOP's midterm strategy

    Clinton stars as central villain in GOP's midterm strategy

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:44 AM EDT2018-04-22 15:44:51 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 1:53 PM EDT2018-04-22 17:53:28 GMT

    She's not on ballot, but Hillary Clinton starring in GOP 2018 midterm strategy.

    More >>

    She's not on ballot, but Hillary Clinton starring in GOP 2018 midterm strategy.

    More >>
  • Road to N. Korea's denuclearization is littered with failure

    Road to N. Korea's denuclearization is littered with failure

    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:44 PM EDT2018-04-22 01:44:28 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-04-22 17:46:21 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018 file photo, Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in P...(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018 file photo, Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in P...

    A look at previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington took shape.

    More >>

    A look at previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington took shape.

    More >>
  • World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:34 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:34:25 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-04-22 17:46:05 GMT
    Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. (Source: TV Asahi/CNN)Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. (Source: TV Asahi/CNN)
    Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. (Source: TV Asahi/CNN)Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. (Source: TV Asahi/CNN)

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

    More >>

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly