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David Emery

Owner of Mystery Vietnam War Dog Tag Found

By June 8, 2013

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Via Facebook:
USMC dog tag belongs to Lanny Martinson of Sugar Land, TX
Thanks in part to the Internet, a long-lost dog tag belonging to a U.S. Marine who served in the Vietnam War is about to be reunited with its owner.

A photo of the tag (see above), which was found by chance two years ago by an Australian teacher visiting the site of the former U.S. military base in Khe Sanh, was posted online in the hopes that others could provide information leading to the whereabouts of the Marine, identified only as Martinson, L.P., service number 1984025, religion Lutheran.

Diligent sleuthing by an active-duty Marine named Joshua Laudermilk and others led to the discovery that the tag's original owner, former Platoon Sgt. Lanny Paul Martinson, is alive and well in Sugar Land, Texas, and thrilled at the prospect of recovering his lost tag.

The full story has yet to be told.

Read more:
Lanny Martinson's Facebook Page
Another Dog Tag Owner Found (SDHarleyRiders.com)

Long Way Home for Marine's Dog Tag (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Military Tag Lost 40 Years Ago Returning to Viet Nam War Veteran (KTRK-TV News)


June 9, 2013 at 3:22 am
(1) Cynthia Reed says:

I found a post of the tag on facebook a couple of hours ago. I love the internet and since I was currently working back and forth between Facebook and Ancestry.com I decided to see what I could find for the initials on Ancestry using an approximate date of 1946, the year my husband who also served in the Asian theater during that time. The only L. P. Martinson I found was Lanny P. Martinson born in Minnesota. I posted this under a comment on my friend Heather Meyer’s post about the tag.

I am thrilled to have had him found. I did a seach on Facebook but found nothing for L Martinson or LP Martinson.

This is wonderful news. Congratulations Sgt Martinson on being reunited with such a personal item. I truly mean that it is wonderful.

June 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm
(2) Snuffy Jackson says:

Good that he has been found but There are some mistakes made. The photo and the article both show his complete Service Number. THIS IS WRONG. Showing the first 2 digits could be helpful as it shows that he was older than Enlisted Marines. Most EMs had service numbers starting between 22 & 24. That indicates when they joined.
Dog Tags are being manufactured in Viet Nam and sold to tourists.
Most guys were not killed in Viet Nam so it is not surprising that most found dog tags were just lost.
The US Military has a web site for MIAs that also handles found Dog Tags.
Google JPAC Dog Tag to find their web site. I don’t see a link from the home page.

June 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm
(3) Pamela says:

Actually, I took about 20 seconds to Google L.P. Martinson….

June 10, 2013 at 9:13 am
(4) JC R says:


I corresponded with Sgt, Martinson…. this is not a manufactured dog tag, as he even remembers the day he lost it. He’s very moved by the effort of all involved.


June 10, 2013 at 9:27 am
(5) Ed T. says:

Lanny, Thank you for your service. Hope all is well, and peace be with you.

June 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm
(6) don cartwright says:

I also have spoken to Sgt Martinson and heard the story of how he lost the tag. I am very glad he is retrieving a big part of his past

June 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm
(7) Gerald(Jerry) Rehnert says:

Welcome my BROTHER> (Danang, 70-71)

June 11, 2013 at 11:43 am
(8) Miriam Bradshaw Hunter says:

Glad he was found and getting his dog tag. The Gov’t contacted me by email about 2 years ago wanting to send my husband’s to me after all these years…he was killed in Vietnam June 15, 1971. I did received them, along with some other info I had never seen before which was enlightening to say the least. They were “cleaning their files”. I guess they just keep gaining more stuff from the present wars and conflicts.

June 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm
(9) moses rocha says:

what good people to behave in this fashion for a stranger…..I wish I would see more of this type of behavior now days….heart warming…God Bless You All My Fellow AMERICANS!!!!!

June 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm
(10) Bill 0351 Co.C 1/1 1stMarDiv. says:

There’s always “conspiracy theorists”, self proclaimed experts like Mr.Snuffy that claim to always know more / know better than everyone else, and they usually speak too soon, missing the big picture of it all.

Congrats to Finder that he got it back in the hands of the Keeper.

OOOORAH and Semper Fi, Sgt. Martin.

Glad to hear you’re walking on the right side of the grass.

June 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm
(11) Lanny Martinson says:

I guess if getting my leg blown off was part of the conspiracy, then I am most definitely guilty. Does seem a bit much for a dog tag though. Don’t you think?

June 12, 2013 at 6:47 am
(12) AL says:

Sorry Snuffy, but you are incorrect about Marine enlisted service numbers. They were issued concurrently, and NOT according to rank. Only Marine officers have a separate numbering system.

Lanny says on his FB page that he joined the Corps in 1962. The series of service numbers beginning with 19 would be correct for that time. I joined in late 1969, and my service number begins with 26.

You are obviously NOT a Marine, or you would know. Semper Fi, Lanny!

June 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm
(13) Tanna Toney-Ferris says:

For those of you who are interested, here is the link to what happened AFTER we found Lanny. It’s a wonderful story that I am HONORED to be part of !!

June 13, 2013 at 9:05 am
(14) Rich Rios in Spring TX says:

Good to see a decent story about the Nam War and someone who knows. I wore my tags on my boots and you know why. The best to you Marine…thank you for your service.

A soldier from Bravo Company, 3rd/506th Currahee Infantry Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, RVN and Cambodia…1969-70. CURRAHEE!

June 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm
(15) John (US Navy '79-'83) says:

Welcome home, Lanny.
Thank you for your service.

June 24, 2013 at 7:48 am
(16) Tammy Francois says:


I was pleased to be able to tell Sgt. Martinson’s story in his hometown newspaper. He said his goal is to use this opportunity to increase awareness of the need for more services for veterans suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder.

I hope that the VA and other veterans support organizations are listening.

July 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm
(17) Angelique says:

Thats so awesome. Glad to hear the owner was found. God Bless!

July 9, 2013 at 9:04 am
(18) sandy musicka says:

I am Next of kin Vietnam Aussie (my step father is also a vet) and lost my dad’s dog tags once (they have since been returned) i know how horrible it is to lose them… so thank you so much to all ho helped return them to this veteran…to Sgt. Martinsonís thank you for putting your life on the line for your country and may you continue to raise awareness of post- traumatic stress disorder and the efefcts that the Vietnam War has had on all there families as well!!!!

July 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm
(19) BILL LOCKE says:

I enlisted and mine started with 21 !!!

July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm
(20) Renee Hernandez says:

My dads Dog Tag was stolen some 30 years ago out of my mothers car in our front yard I wish I knew who has it. His name is Joseph M Hernandez U.S. Army. I would like it back my dad recently opened up about his time in Viet Nam and it would be something awesome to give it back.

August 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(21) Slb says:

Legally your supposed to mail them back to the government! Not search for people, the government issues them and they own them. These stories are never acurrate when interviewed.

August 17, 2013 at 1:20 am
(22) Cherokee says:

Semper Fi, Lanny. Indeed, a few of us left more than a dog tag behind. I lost a part or two while on vacation with Charlie, but at least I kept my pins.

Snuffy, you’re so full of it you squish when you walk. Mine started with a 25, ’67-’69. 3rd FoRecon.

Slb, I’m still proud to call my self a Marine, and I’m still proud of the Corps, but to hell with the gub’mint. Those of us who served earned that tin. I left mine in the bottom of the river a few years back, about the same time my 214′s went up in a campfire. Why? The VA post-Carter.

September 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm
(23) Hootie14 says:

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967 and my ID # started with 23. I have lost mine somewhere in the last 40 + years. I can feel how good it must be for my Marine Brother to get his back. Semper Fi Lanny.

September 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm
(24) mary booth says:

Its so wonderful to find a lost love one let me give out shout to anyone if you know of a Sgt.J.P.Walton station in Camp Pendelton if you know him please have him email me @marybooth@yahoo.com I am still looking for my best friend after 30 years God Speed Thank You for your support

January 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm
(25) rachel says:

hi everybody i need some advice. I live in Trinidad in the Caribbean, my husband’s father was stationed here somewhere between 1963-1966 and then sent to Vietnam or so my husband has been told. What he has left of his father are his dog-tags and pictures. I have been trying to find out what may have happened to his father, but cannot locate his name on the list of casualties on the vietnam wall. Can some one please tell me how to go about using those dog-tags to find and reunite my husband and his father, as i do not believe he is dead at all. thanks

April 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm
(26) Donna says:

I found a dog tag of a United States Marine. It is probable from WWII. How can I find the owner?

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