US air force veteran reunited with dog tags lost in Suffolk 70 years ago

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander, presents 93-year-old World War II

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander, presents 93-year-old World War II veteran Raymond Odom with his dog tags at Arbor Rose Assisted Living Facility in Farmerville, Louisiana. - Credit: Archant

When US airman Raymond Odom lost his dog tags while serving at RAF Knettishall in the Second World War, he thought he would never see them again.

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his los

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his lost USAF dog tags. He is pictured with Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander. - Credit: Archant

But 70 years on, with the help of an eagle-eyed metal detectorist, the 93-year-old, from Farmerville, Louisiana, can wear them with pride once more.

The former 388th Bomb Group member's lost tags were found in May 2016 at the historical grounds of RAF Knettishall at RAF Honington by groundsman Andy Fuller.

Knettishall was the home of the B-17 Flying Fortress, a US aircraft used for targeting naval installations.

The tags are stamped with the military member's name, rank and service number.

Raymond Odom in his US Air Force days.

Raymond Odom in his US Air Force days. - Credit: Archant


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They were passed on to Cpl Ed Stanley, an armourer at Honington, who set about tracking down Mr Odom.

He soon found he was alive and well.

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Arrangements were made to bring the tags to the US, with staff at RAF Mildenhall mounting them on to a frame with pictures of Mr Odom from his service days.

They were presented to him at home, having been flown across to Barksdale Air Base in Louisiana, with a representative for local Congressman Ralph Abraham in attendance, as well as Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander, presents 93-year-old World War II

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander, presents 93-year-old World War II veteran Raymond Odom with his dog tags at Arbor Rose Assisted Living Facility in Farmerville, Louisiana. - Credit: Archant

Mr Odom said: 'It's a real honor to have you people here to recognize me.

'I feel very humbled and honoured that you're here to do this. Thank you very much.'

His daughter, Debbie Ball - who was first contacted by RAF Mildenhall through social media - said the return of the tags was a significant moment.

'It was a great honor to have you all here, and it meant the world to me and my family,' she said. 'I know my father was incredibly humbled and honored.'

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his los

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his lost USAF dog tags. - Credit: Archant

An American flag which had flown over the White House was also presented to Mr Odom.

Have you been part of a magic moment? Write to newsdesk@archant.co.uk

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his los

Raymond Odom at a ceremony at his home in Farmerville, Louisiana, where he was reunited with his lost USAF dog tags. - Credit: Archant

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