While in the U.S. Army during World War II, Marion Wilson Yates lost one of his dog tags in a military salvage yard in Bari, Italy, which is off of the Italian Coast near Naples.
The tag was found by a man in Italy who was walking through the field using a metal detector, according to Marion Yates' son, Keith Yates. The man then gave the tag to MyHeritage.com, who managed to contact Keith Yates and return it to him.
Keith Yates, 67, of Beech Grove, said he was originally contacted by MyHeritage.com in July 2018 by representative Roi Mandel.
"It was a year ago when they contacted me and they had a picture of the gentleman that found the tag in the woods and he was holding it," Yates said. "I took a picture of his discharge papers and sent it to him [Roi] and he was ecstatic in his emails, like 'We finally found you.'"
After not having any more contact with MyHeritage.com due to communication problems within the company, Yates said, he heard from another MyHeritage representative, Estee Yaari, this past July. Yaari was finally able to ship the tag to Yates' home three days later.
"It was a whole year from July 2018 until now when they contacted me again. I was getting paranoid and skeptical ... I first thought it was a scam ... I mean you think about it, finding a dog tag like that -- pretty slim."
"The dog tag was found by chance in Italy, and ... the person who found it contacted MyHeritage to seek our help in finding who it belongs to," Yaari said in an email to Yates. " ... I'm really pleased that it is now with you."
Yates and his story will be featured in a segment on "Fox and Friends" on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Yates said that he wants to share his story with the community to honor his brother, Phillip W. Yates, who died in January 2015.
"It's just amazing to me," Yates said. "You know these aren't remains. My dad made it home, which was a great thing. But then you think, well, it was part of him. He had it on his neck."
Yates' father, Marion W. Yates, was born in Muhlenberg County in January 1923 and died in 1993 in Evansville at the age of 70. He served in the United States Army for a little more than two years, according to Yates, and was stationed in North Africa and Italy. During his time in Italy, he worked with the 225th Quartermaster Salvage and Repair Company where he salvaged military bombing sites, Yates said.
Yates said that his father grew up in the McLean County area and moved to Evansville with his mother, Reva Yates, to find work after returning from the war.
"My mom at that time, during the war, she was in Evansville and she was actually what you would call a Rosie the Riveter," he said. "Dad didn't talk much about the war. He didn't say hardly anything. I think Mom kept most of that stuff and she never threw papers away."
Keith Yates was born and raised in Evansville with his brother and moved to Beech Grove 25 years ago. He and his wife Cindy run Industrial Electrical Service, an electrical contracting business, in Owensboro.