Utah veteran reunited with dog tags

Jan 9, 2023, 5:04 PM | Updated: 5:07 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Connections can be made with the click of a button, and social media was able to connect a South Jordan dentist and a Cedar City veteran in a very special way.

“I was a very young dentist, I traveled to Vietnam with Operation Smile, so we took care of some of the dental needs of these surgery patients,” recalled Scott McGavin as he flipped through photos of his trip.

McGavin is a dentist who first traveled to Vietnam in 1993.

“These are the streets of Da Nang,” he said, turning another page, “I would have wandered into one of these shops.”

It was in one of these shops he would find some unique souvenirs.

“The one thing that caught my eye was this bucket full of American soldiers’ dog tags,” McGavin said

Specifically, what was written on the bottom of three of them.

“LD Saints. Latter-day Saint, that would be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” McGavin pointed out.

Being a member himself, McGavin felt an instant connection.

“I brought those three dog tags home and I was convinced I was going to find who they belonged to.”

The dog tags that Scott McGavin found in Vietnam in 1993. (KSL-TV)

But for 30 years, he was unsuccessful – until a couple of weeks ago when he had the thought to turn to social media. Typing the names into a search, McGavin was able to find one that might be a match; Martin Skougaard, a Cedar City veteran. So, McGavin reached out.

It was a match. The two arranged to meet and McGavin couldn’t hold back tears when reuniting the tag with its owner. He pulled it out and read, “SKOUGAARD. M. L. 2161295.”

Skougaard smiled and repeated back his number. He couldn’t believe it. Skougaard had lost this tag and two comrades in an explosive attack 55 years ago.

“Thank you so much I just can’t thank you enough,” he said, hugging McGavin, “it may have broken my heart, but it was all worth it.”

Because even though he has faced unimaginable horrors on and off the battlefield, Skougaard feels God is continually reminding him he has not been forgotten.

Before Vietnam, he lost his mom in a car crash. During the war, he was surrounded by death. After the war, he would bury two of his own children. But in all these hardships, Skougaard has seen God’s hand and it has strengthened his faith – just like today.

“It made me cry and it made me realize that I’m somebody that Heavenly Father cares about and is taking care of. It is just something so big I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it,” Skougaard said.

McGavin is still looking for the owners of the two other tags pictured below. If you have any information, he would love for you to reach out to his email.

The last two dog tags that are looking for their owners. (KSL-TV)

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Randy Martin working on a reading station in West Valley City. (KSL-TV's Mike Anderson)...
Mike Anderson

Utah air quality is continuing to get worse, says USU professor

A Utah State University professor says that Utahns are breathing some of the worst air we've seen in over a decade.
1 day ago
The area where first responders rescued the two people (Weber Fire District)...
Michael Houck

Two rescued from Pineview Reservoir after falling through ice

Officials are warning residents of thin ice after two people needed rescuing from the Pineview Reservoir Saturday morning. 
1 day ago
(KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Police: Man threatening neighbors with knife, leads officers in multi-agency chase

A man is in police custody after "waving" a knife around bystanders and fleeing from police Friday evening.
1 day ago
Presenters at the Health Relationship Youth Summit asking for final questions. (KSL-TV's Mark Less)...
Alex Cabrero

Utah teens learn more about healthy relationships at youth summit

Teenagers gathered at a Healthy Relationship Youth Summit to learn more about the signs of unhealthy relationships and be able to identify them.
1 day ago
snow covered bowl in Utah mountains...
Michael Houck

Woman hit by snowmobile while tubing near Peter Sinks, flown to U of U hospital

First responders treated a woman hit by a snowmobile while tubing near the Peter Sinks area Saturday afternoon.
1 day ago
For 29 years, Mike Skogerboe has been to nearly every girls and boys basketball game, and nearly ev...
Mike Anderson

Fremont High School helps support their superfan

Students and teachers at Fremont High School teamed up to help out their superfan who rarely misses a game.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Utah veteran reunited with dog tags