Kate’s Corner: World War II Dog Tags Find Their Way Home

When Patrick Donovan came across a pair of old military dog tags, he set out on a mission to return them to their owner.

According to Donovan, in 1995, the dog tags had been given to him by a friend with a name similar to the one that had been inscribed on the dog tags, George L. Wey. After tucking them away for over twenty years, Donovan discovered them while cleaning out a drawer. He then brought the Navy WWII tags to local Vietnam Veteran, Richard Honan, who was happy to help.

WWII dog tags, belonging to George L. Wey

Alongside a photo of the dog tags, Honan shared a Facebook post asking for help in finding George Wey, hoping to reunite the important piece of history with any living family members. The power of Facebook came through and it didn’t take long for Honan to find his answer. A friend of a friend connected Honan to George’s son, Roger Wey, who now lives in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.

“I called Roger and explained who I was and why I was calling,” said Honan, who mailed the tags to Roger’s home. “He was very happy to hear from me. He really enjoyed hearing about all the help I received in trying to track him down and he was looking forward to receiving his father’s dog tags.”

In a time when people around the world are faced with uncertainty, the small gesture offered hope and happiness to all parties involved.

“For Mr. Honan to go through the trouble he went through in order for my family to receive the dog tags, we are so very grateful,” said Roger Wey, who received them on Monday afternoon.

“It’s an uplifting story and we are so happy to have them.”

Captain George Lee Wey was in the United States Navy from 1941 to 1945. When World War II began, Wey volunteered for military service and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy’s newly formed Construction Brigade, the SeaBees. After completing officer training, the unit he was assigned to was given the task of constructing the U.S. Naval Base in Bermuda. Having spent a year and a half in Bermuda, Wey’s unit was shipped to the Pacific Theatre in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines. When U.S. troops landed on Leyte Island and before the end of hostilities, his unit constructed an airfield and port facilities while under constant harassment by the enemy. Prior to Japan’s surrender, Wey’s unit was preparing for the Allied invasion of mainland Japan.

After World War II, Wey returned to Boston and was chosen to be the chief engineer of the Boston Port Authority, now the Massachusetts Port Authority. During his tenure with the Boston Port Authority, Wey implemented and supervised the construction of new shipping facilities within Boston’s inner harbor. In the early 1960s he left the port authority and was appointed director of transportation planning for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was instrumental in preventing the implementation of the inner belt highway which would have been disruptive to the environment and the surrounding urban communities.

Upon reaching retirement age, Wey left the public sector and sold the family home in Winthrop to build a house on Martha’s Vineyard. With the completion of his home, he became restless with the desire to do something more with his life. At the age of 71 he formed G.L. Engineering Consultants. He remained active in this pursuit until he was 94.

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