World War II vet gets long lost dog tags back - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

World War II vet gets long lost dog tags back

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Lou Pitalo is an 88-year-old World War II veteran who grew up on Biloxi's Point Cadet. Three of his brothers also served in the war, and all three came home safe and sound. Lou had a career as a teacher and coach in Louisiana before retiring and coming back home to Biloxi.

WLOX News recently had a chance to speak with Pitalo about how something very small went missing for so long, and meant so much to him.

Pitalo was 17 when he joined the U.S. Coast Guard.

His most prominent memory of the war was Easter Sunday morning of 1945, when his ship dropped off trucks and men on Okinawa. This would be the place where so many Americans would die.

"I got up the next morning, and here is what I see," Pitalo said.

"They have a stretcher, two guys that is all you see, a khaki blanket and the boots, dead soldiers. It was so sad and I still remember it to this day. It really got to me."

Those kinds of memories came rushing back to Lou just a few months ago, when he was part of Honor Flight six, that took our Mississippi World War II veterans to see their memorial in the nation's capital.

"That Honor Flight was my Honor Flight, because it took 70 years before I got a homecoming the way they did. They did a beautiful job. It was just fantastic."

There was still one thing missing from Pitalo's World War II story. His dog tags disappeared from his Biloxi home way back in 1946.

As you might imagine, he thought they were long gone. At least, that was until just a few months ago, when he got a very big surprise.

"I got a phone call. This guy says, ‘are you Lou Pitalo?' I said ‘yea,' and he said ‘I have your dog tags.' "

To say the least, Pitalo was stunned. He asked how and where he found them.

It turns out the man's mother lived in the home behind where Pitalo grew up. His mom passed away recently, and when they were cleaning out the home they found the dog tags.

The man who found them lives in Lucedale, and still has not seen Pitalo. However, this fall he left the dog tags on Pitalo's front door in Ocean Springs. When he spotted them, there were more than a few tears in the Pitalo family.

Needless to say, those dog tags are priceless to Pitalo. He now keeps them in a safe place inside his home. As to when he finally gets to meet the man who found them, he told us, "I will give him a big hug and of course, tell him thank you. It is hard to find the words to describe how much this means to me."

Pitalo ended our conversation by saying he knew God wanted him to have these dog tags back.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.



  • NEWSMore>>

  • Blues Over Biloxi: A complete guide to the coast's best air show

    Blues Over Biloxi: A complete guide to the coast's best air show

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 6:29 PM EDT2018-07-18 22:29:17 GMT
    The Blue Angels will perform on July 21-22 at Blues Over Biloxi. (Source: U.S. Navy)The Blue Angels will perform on July 21-22 at Blues Over Biloxi. (Source: U.S. Navy)

    Whether you're planning on watching from the coastline or from home, we've got all the details you need to know about Blues Over Biloxi!

    More >>

    Whether you're planning on watching from the coastline or from home, we've got all the details you need to know about Blues Over Biloxi!

    More >>
  • Drivers agree traffic light has improved safety at Gulfport intersection

    Drivers agree traffic light has improved safety at Gulfport intersection

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 5:33 PM EDT2018-07-18 21:33:11 GMT
    Drivers praise efforts to improve safety at intersection of Cowan and E Taylor Road. (Photo source: WLOX)Drivers praise efforts to improve safety at intersection of Cowan and E Taylor Road. (Photo source: WLOX)
    Drivers praise efforts to improve safety at intersection of Cowan and E Taylor RoadDrivers praise efforts to improve safety at intersection of Cowan and E Taylor Road

    For years the intersection at Cowan Road and East Taylor road has been a traffic nightmare for many residents. Now, a year after the installation of a new traffic light, people are praising the effort to improve safety and ease of use.

    More >>

    For years the intersection at Cowan Road and East Taylor road has been a traffic nightmare for many residents. Now, a year after the installation of a new traffic light, people are praising the effort to improve safety and ease of use.

    More >>
  • Hard Rock Biloxi regular hits a $1.3M jackpot

    Hard Rock Biloxi regular hits a $1.3M jackpot

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 5:17 PM EDT2018-07-18 21:17:20 GMT
    Florida resident Fred S. is a regular at the Biloxi Hard Rock and was playing in the high limits area on a $10 machine when he hit a $1,291,918 jackpot. (Photo source: Hard Rock Casino Resort Biloxi)Florida resident Fred S. is a regular at the Biloxi Hard Rock and was playing in the high limits area on a $10 machine when he hit a $1,291,918 jackpot. (Photo source: Hard Rock Casino Resort Biloxi)
    Florida resident Fred S. is a regular at the Biloxi Hard Rock and was playing in the high limits area on a $10 machine when he hit a $1,291,918 jackpot. (Photo source: Hard Rock Casino Resort Biloxi)Florida resident Fred S. is a regular at the Biloxi Hard Rock and was playing in the high limits area on a $10 machine when he hit a $1,291,918 jackpot. (Photo source: Hard Rock Casino Resort Biloxi)

    One man sat down at a high limits machine in the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi Wednesday morning and walked away about $1.3 million richer. It's the highest jackpot in South Mississippi in almost a decade.

    More >>

    One man sat down at a high limits machine in the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi Wednesday morning and walked away about $1.3 million richer. It's the highest jackpot in South Mississippi in almost a decade.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly