DETROIT (WJBK) - There are things you bring home from war and things you leave behind. The latter are often the most meaningful.
Bill Dekryder said he once came across a souvenir seller and among his pile of things were dog tags. For the last four years, Bill , a Marine and Vietnam War vet, along with his son Tim, have been on a mission. They're getting old dog tags left on the battlefield in Vietnam back to the troops that wore them or to the families of the fallen.
"It was kind of an emotional moment for everybody. Us too. Seeing something like that a very personal piece of gear being returned to the owner," he said.
Lance Corporal Lancaster Brown Bey from Detroit died from injuries sustained at Landing Zone Margo in Vietnam exactly 50 years ago. By some counts, nearly 200 Marines were either killed or wounded over the course of two days.
First Lieutenant Alan Green was Brown Bey's platoon commander. He says the mortar man from Detroit made quite the impression on his buddies and leaders alike before giving his all on the battlefield.
Brown Bey's dog tags were among those found in Vietnam. Bill and other vets will present them to his family Sunday as surviving Marines from Battalion Landing Team 2/26 reunite and reflect on what happened half a century ago.
"Most of those people had never met him. They just know of him and maybe by our participation we'll help them known who he was," Green said.
Bill and his son spent nearly $1,000 acquiring those dog tags but say that giving them back to the families was worth every penny.