ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Dorothy Hollingsworth was just 7 when her brother Tom left the family farm in Indiana to join the Army a few months before the United States entered World War II. She didn't see him again.
Now, more than 70 years after Pfc. Thomas E. Davis was killed in one of the war's final, major battles, a reminder of her beloved sibling has been found on the Pacific island of Saipan — one of his Army dog tags.
"He was a great guy," said Hollingsworth, 82, who lives outside Dayton, Ohio, noting that some of her earliest memories are of the tall, thin sibling 17 years her senior who always sat next to her at the dinner table.
"He was always laughing and singing and whistling."
Cultural historian Genevieve Cabrera said that she found the discolored metal tag sticking out of the soil of a farm field on Saipan in early 2014.
Cabrera recently gave the tag to members of Kuentai, a Japan-based organization that has found the remains of five 27th Division soldiers on Saipan.
Kuentai representatives said they'll arrange to meet the Davis family to hand over the tag.
The tags, attached to a chain worn around the neck, were the only item of military-issued gear a soldier wore daily that included potentially life-saving information such as blood type.
A year before Davis died in the battle for Okinawa in April 1945, he earned one of the nation's highest military honors after surviving the bloody fighting on Saipan. Davis earned the Silver Star on Saipan in June 1944 for risking his own life to rescue a wounded comrade "at a time when the American front was undergoing brutal Japanese artillery and mortar fire."