NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Vietnam veteran Richard “Rick” A. Tilghman Jr. is about to get his dog tags back -- 50 years after the fact -- thanks to the yearlong sleuthing of Charles Thompson.
The exchange is taking place Thursday, March 3 at 6:20 a.m. on "Fox & Friends."
Thompson, a London resident, was on vacation in Vietnam when he saw a vendor on the street selling dog tags. Because this particular set still had some visible details —the first and middle initial and last name -- he bought it.
"I felt it could have a great deal of sentimental value to the family of the departed," he said.
Determined to track down the soldier's family, he took to the Internet to try to find the owner. The work finally led him to a "Richard Tilghman” in a photo from a 20-year high school reunion that featured comments saying how Tilghman had been in the Marines fighting in the Quang Tri province of Vietnam --the area where Thompson found the dog tags.
Tilghman, who lives in New Canaan and works at Mischler Financial Group Inc. in Stamford, was in his office scrolling through emails when he noticed the subject line, “I have something that I believe belongs to you…”
"I would have deleted it, assuming it was spam, but then I noticed the word, 'Vietnam,'" he said. "So I was intrigued."
The two say it has been a wonderful journey of connections, made even more ironic for the fact that Thompson works for BNY Mellon Investment Management. and Tilghman works for a company that is a BNY Mellon client and coincidentally helps disabled veterans transition to careers after the service.
"The dog tag brings up a lot of memories," said Tilghman. "I will appreciate having it back, but what stands out most for me is the initiative that Charlie took to buy it and track down the family. His efforts and perseverance are very commendable."
Added Thompson: "It has been amazing to complete my goal of returning the dog tag to its rightful owner."
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