WWII veteran reunited with lost dog tag
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL World Correspondent
Monday, February 04, 2013
2/04/13 at 2:39 AM
COMMERCE - For 70 years, Alvin Krumrey had given little thought to his military dog tag that was presumed lost in the jungles of Guadalcanal during World War II.
On Wednesday, in front of 45 family members and friends, 91-year-old Krumrey stood upright, using a cane, as Army Capt. Matthew R. Wimmer placed the dog tag back in the veteran's hands.
"I don't remember losing it," Krumrey said.
The metal tag, carrying Krumrey's military identification information, had traveled across the world.
"I can still quote my number - 38190284," Krumrey said.
Krumrey was a member of the Army Air Corps 13th Air Force Division. The Army Air Corps was a predecessor of the Air Force. The 13th Air Force served in the South and Southwest Pacific. His Army Air Corps rank was equivalent to a corporal, Krumrey said.
"We use to say 13 was a lucky number," Krumrey said, referring to his military division. "We would make a practice of walking under ladders and other silly stuff like that."
Originally from Seneca, Mo., the veteran was sent overseas from 1943 to 1944.
"We were stationed just below the equator - the hottest part of the world," Krumrey said. "It was all jungle, but there was a place cleared out for a landing field and a place for our tents."
Krumrey said he thinks he might have lost his dog tag while bathing in the jungle river, but he's not sure.
"I plan on putting it (dog tag) into a drawer and just keeping it there," he said.
"The dog tag is in outstanding shape," said Roy Woods, a retired Navy master chief petty officer, who helped organize the ceremony. "It has some wear and a couple of pinholes, but the lettering is clear."
Woods, who is in charge of the Military Veterans Funeral Detail for the far northeast corner of the state, said the dog tag was spotted last year in a coin store in the Solomon Islands. The store's owners purchased the tag from a Guadalcanal islander and took it to their home in Australia, he said. Because of the dog tag's military significance, they began searching for its owner, Woods said.
A Florida military historian discovered Krumrey had enlisted in Tulsa, and after several phone calls, the tag was on its way to Krumrey, he said.
"He (Krumrey) was choked up during the ceremony," Woods said. "His family was so proud of him. He is very sharp and witty and has a good memory."
That wit was evident as Krumrey told a story during the ceremony of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The first lady was visiting the military site and the soldiers hadn't seen a white woman in many months, Krumrey said. So several men let out a wolf whistle as she walked by, he said.
"She didn't appreciate it," Krumrey said. "She told us we didn't need to come home."
Original Print Headline: Lost dog tag finds WWII veteran
Alvin Krumrey holds his WWII dog tag that had been missing for 70 years. GARY CROW / for the Tulsa World
The tag and photo Alvin Krumrey, of Commerce, received from Australia. GARY CROW / for the Tulsa World