LOCAL NEWS

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)

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