After 47 years, Vietnam veteran receives lost dog tags

PHILADELPHIA -- A Vietnam veteran has been reunited with his long-lost dog tags, thanks to the help of a Missouri narcotics officer. 

CBS Philly reports Mike Amalfitano lost his dog tags 47 years ago — somewhere in the jungle, as he puts it. 

"Spent a lot of time in the jungle," Amalfitano said. He served for a year in Vietnam in 1969 and was a sergeant in the 101st Airborne.

He only remembers vague details about losing the tags because the military issued him new copies immediately. 

But one day recently, out of the blue, Amalfitano received a message online from someone he didn't know: Officer Nate Pinter. 

"He's a World War II collector and he said he had this dog tag," Amalfitano said. "My wife and I didn't know if it was a scam, the way things are today."

Amalfitano — a father to three girls, and a grandfather of six — says he was "skeptical" when the man asked for his address. But when he received the lost dog tags, it "felt like it was a great present."   

On Tuesday, Pinter and Amalfitano met for the first time in person.

"You know I just wanted him to get it back really," said Pinter, who lives in Washington, Missouri.

"When I got it, it became a big deal," Amalfitano said. "When I received this, it was nice, you know? It brought back some memories."

Amalfitano says for now he keeps the dog tags in a teacup so as not to lose them again. He plans to give them as a gift to his grandson, Carmen, a second-grader who has shown interest in the military.