Vet gets dog tags back 40 years later

September 22, 2008 4:31:34 PM PDT
It took 40 years. But on Monday, Vietnam War veteran Gerald Trout got his Army dog tags back.They were among 37 tags bought at a market in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, by the parents of Congressman Peter Roskam in 2001, where they were being sold as trinkets.

It was an emotional day for Trout of Garland, Texas. Forty years ago, he lost his dog tag while in combat. He was able to reclaim the dog tag Monday. Trout said he is uncomfortable with the media attention.

"I stayed scared and kept the thought of coming home on my mind," he said. "I feel very honored. But it's not about heroes; it's about violence and ugliness. I don't' have a whole lot to say. It brings back a lot of bad memories? I'm pleased to have it back, but I don't know that I'll ever wear it again."

"Gerald, if you come up here, I will give you something that you lost a long time ago," said Martha Roskam, Rep. Peter Roskam's mother, presenting the tags.

"To us, he's always been a hero," said Mathew Trout, Gerald Trout's son.

Gerald Trout served with the 196th Light Infantry Army Brigade in Vietnam from 1967-1968 He won but had not been awarded the Purple Heart, Army commendation medal and the Bronze Star for heroic action in combat.

The Army said Gerald Trout repeatedly entered a burning bunker to carry ammunition to a safer position and help evacuate other wounded squad members to a safer position.

"We didn't know if we were going to be able to pull this off or not because it's really emotional," said Matthew Trout.


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