A set of dog tags that turned up in the Asian south pacific may finally solve a 70-year-old mystery.
The tags belonged to Bernard Gavrin, a WWII Army infantryman presumed dead in 1944 after going missing in action. For the last 70 years, Gavrin’s family was left wondering what exactly happened to the fallen solider and where his body might lay. Thanks to efforts of the Kuentai Group, a Japanese organization dedicated to finding lost soldiers, the Gavrin’s might finally have their answer.
Gavrin’s tags were found in a cave in Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands and home to a number of brutal WWII battles. After finding the tags, the Kuentai group immediately tried to track down members of Gavrin’s family. They were put in touch with David Rogers, a nephew of Gavrin’s.
"I am the only living relative to have known my Uncle Bernie," Rogers told the Sun Sentinel. "Words cannot do justice to the shock this news left me with."
Rogers says that for decades, he and his family thought Gavrin likely drowned in the pacific.
"A lot of American soldiers were pushed into the ocean," Rogers said. "We thought he drowned. Now we know that wasn't the case."
The Kuentai Group also discovered the remains of several soldiers in the same cave that Gavrin’s tags were found in. Authorities will soon know if the one of the bodies belongs to Gavrin as well. For Rogers, the discovery of his uncle’s body would provide him closure he’s been seeking for decades. If the body is found, a burial service would be held at the Arlington National Cemetery.
"I would love to be around for the burial service," he said. "Time is of the essence in my old age."