- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I have been searching the Web for some information and found your site. I thought possibly you could help me.

My husband is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy — just wanted to let you know.

We lived in New Jersey for 30 years, and my husband found much pleasure digging with his metal detector at a lake near our home when the dam broke. Among many of the items he found was a dog tag for:

William Thomas McClain — 713-07-82 — T644TYPE-O USNR/C

I have searched the Internet thinking William McClain would have been a local guy but no success. This is a common name, so I am not having any results. I would like to return his dog tags to him and wonder if you could give me any info as how I could find info on his whereabouts.

I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

Phyllis R.
Via the Internet

Dear Phyllis:

Using typical Navy WWII dog tag markings, this tag reads:

William Thomas McClain (Name)
713-07-82 (Serial Number)
T644 (Date of last tetanus shot — June 1944)
TYPE-O (Blood Type — there were no positive or negative factors known during WWII)
USNR/C (US Naval Reserve/ Religion — Catholic)

Hopefully by highlighting this Navy vet’s info, one of my readers may know how to locate this World War ll swabby. If you read on, you’ll see that you are not the only one trying to solve this type of mystery.

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My wife received one of her father’s (deceased) dog tags as a Christmas gift this year. He was in the Navy during WW II on the USS St. Louis. The tag is quite different than my father’s and my Vietnam tags. Ours were oval with the tooth notch. His is round. I have found online that is one of their styles (Navy). The stamping is as follows:

Virgil
Mills
Lumpkin
574-98-84
USNR-O
T-1-44-P

The first three lines are his first, middle, and last names. The next three lines are a question I have of you. Any help would be appreciated. I saw one of your articles online for someone else you had helped and just wanted to see if you could assist. The 574 must be the start of his Social Security number, or it is a Navy serial number like my Dad and I had.

Nothing urgent. Thanks in advance for any assistance and Happy New Year.

Warmest regards,
Richard D.
Via the Internet

Dear Richard:

The same information as I provided above applies here.

Virgil
Mills
Lumpkin
574-98-84 — Serial Number
USNR-O — U.S. Naval Reserve, Blood type O (Positive or Negative factors were not used during WWII)
T-1-44-P — Date of last tetanus shot (Jan 1944) and religion preference (Protestant)

Shaft notes

Kudos to the the Department of Veterans Affairs for improving service to our nation’s veterans by the deployment of 20 additional Mobile Vet Centers from the production facility of Farber Specialty Vehicles to increase access to readjustment counseling services for veterans and their families in rural and underserved communities across the country.

“Mobile Vet Centers allow VA to bring the many services our Vet Centers offer veterans to all communities, wherever they are needed,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel. “VA is committed to expanding access to VA health care and benefits for veterans and their families, and these 20 new vehicles demonstrate that continued commitment.”

In an event attended by Mr. Petzel, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, representatives of the Ohio congressional delegation, and veterans service organizations, VA launched the 20 new vehicles to their destinations ranging across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

These customized vehicles — which are equipped with confidential counseling space and a state-of-the-art communication package — travel to communities to extend VA’s reach to veterans, service members and their families, especially those living in rural or remote communities. The vehicles also serve as part of the VA emergency response program.

The 20 new, American-made vehicles will expand the existing fleet of 50 Mobile Vet Centers already in service providing outreach and counseling services. The 50 Mobile Vet Centers were also manufactured by Farber Specialty Vehicles. In fiscal year 2011, Mobile Vet Centers participated in more than 3,600 federal, state and locally sponsored veteran-related events. The VA contract for the 20 Mobile Vet Centers totals $3.1 million.

Mr. Petzel also announced that Farber Specialty Vehicles recently won a competitive bid to produce 230 emergency shuttle vehicles for VA over the next five years. The shuttles will provide routine transportation for veteran patients in and around various metro areas during normal operations, but convert to mobile clinics that will facilitate the evacuation of patients and their care teams during disasters and emergencies. The VA contract for the 230 emergency shuttles totals $53.5 million.

VA has 300 Vet Centers serving communities across the country, offering individual and group counseling for veterans and their families, family counseling for military-related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, military sexual trauma counseling and referral, outreach and education, substance-abuse assessment and referral, employment assessment and referral, VA benefits explanation and referral, and screening and referral for medical issues including traumatic brain injury and depression.

More than 190,000 veterans and families made over 1.3 million visits to VA Vet Centers in fiscal year 2011.

To find out more about Vet Center services or find a Vet Center in your area, go to www.vetcenter.va.gov.

The 20 new mobile Vet Centers will be based at:
* Birmingham, Ala.
* San Diego, Calif.
* Atlanta, Ga.
* Western Oahu, Hawaii
* Cedar Rapids, Iowa
* Evanston, Ill.
* Indianapolis, Ind.
* Baltimore, Md.
* Pontiac, Mich.
* Kansas City, Mo.
* Jackson, Miss.
* Greensboro, N.C.
* Lakewood, N.J.
* Reno, Nev.
* Stark County, Ohio
* Lawton, Okla.
* Ponce, Puerto Rico
* Nashville, Tenn.
* Washington County, Utah
* Green Bay, Wis.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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