New York State In-depth

A Grand Prairie man’s 1950s-era dog tag turned up in Germany. Can you help find him?

The mystery begins with a single clue — an old US Army dog ​​tag.

Its edges are jagged with age, and the metal is dinged in places. But the name inscribed on the tag is still clear: Walter E. Simpson.

Someone found the day a year ago in a small town in Bavaria, Germany and sent it to Iain Walker, who lives near Albany, New York. Walker runs Get it Home United, a nonprofit that seeks to return lost dog tags, military bracelets and old letters to families of service members.

As an amateur historian, Walker launched Get it Home after he tracked down the spot where his grandfather’s airplane crashed in Germany during World War II. His grandfather was the sole survivor of the crash.

Since then, Walker has helped reunite more than 60 items with families.

“It’s almost like amateur sleuthing,” he said. “You’re essentially given an object, and then you try to recreate the person and story behind it.”

But this dog tag has proven particularly difficult.

Walker could deduce little from it over the past year. He only knew that Walter Simpson likely fought in the Korean War and received a tetanus vaccine in 1954, thanks to the tag’s inscription: T54.

Walker was able to narrow down the state where Simpson enlisted to a handful of possibilities, including Texas.

Various database searches came up empty, though, due to a massive fire in 1973 at the National Archives that destroyed 16 to 18 million military personnel files.

So Walker submitted a formal written request to the National Archives looking for more information. This week, he received a response.

A document from the National Archives provides a Grand Prairie address for Walter E. Simpson.(Iain Walker / Courtesy photo)

A single discharge document from 1957 provided a Grand Prairie address for Simpson. The address — 1910 Pangburn St. — now appears to be an empty lot, according to images from Google Street View.

Walker hopes someone in the area might know Walter E. Simpson or his family. If he is alive, Simpson would likely be in his 80s.

“Each object has its own interesting story,” he said. “And they belong with the family.”

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