Local soldier’s returned dog tags off to national museum

During a recent ceremony preceding the Bicentennial Military Parade, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne presented Louisiana soldier John Mack’s recovered WWII dog tag to the Mack Family.

Morris Mack, John Mack’s great nephew, presented the dog tag to Nick Mueller, president and CEO of the National World War II Museum on behalf of the Mack family.

“I only wish that my uncle was here to witness this great honor,” Morris Mack said. “My family is comforted knowing that his service will be celebrated with other veterans in the National World War II Museum here in New Orleans.”

In October, while in France for an economic development and cultural mission, Dardenne received the tag to return to the Mack family.

“An interesting wrinkle to the story is that John Mack worked for Governor Mike Foster when he returned from war,” Dardenne said.

Following the ceremony, the dog tag was carried by George Jones, president of the Buffalo Soldier Association, in the Bicentennial Military Parade through the French Quarter and Warehouse District before arriving at its ultimate home, the National World War II Museum.

The Buffalo Soldier Association pays homage to the Buffalo Soldiers, an all-African American regiment of the U.S. Army who helped settle the western United States.

“The National World War II Museum gives the highest priority to telling the personal stories of Americans who served in the Second World War, and this newly discovered dog tag offers a window into one of these stories,” Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, President and CEO of the Museum, said. “We are eager to provide a home to this artifact and pass on the story of this Louisiana soldier’s service overseas. He is representative of millions who set aside their jobs and other demands at home to take up the cause of fighting for freedom.”

In August Laurent Meslier, an amateur metal detectorist who found the dog tag in Normandy contacted CODOFIL. The group relayed the message to the Office of the Lt. Governor.

Meslier presented the recovered tag to Dardenne during a ceremony at the Memorial De Caen Musee’ Normandie, a sister museum of the National World War II Museum.

“Being involved in returning this dog tag to Louisiana and the Mack family has been a distinct honor,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “I am thankful for John Mack’s service and his family’s willingness to preserve his story at the National World War II Museum.”

John Mack was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He served in Normandy, Rhineland, Germany and central Europe. Before being drafted he worked as a farmhand for Gov. Foster’s uncle, W. Prescott Foster in St. Mary Parish. While in the military he was trained as a truck driver and served as a member of the Red Ball Express, an enormous truck convoy made up of mostly African-Americans which carried half a million tons of supplies through France during WWII and was the largest logistics operation ever attempted. He died in 1975.

During the ceremony, Dardenne also recognized Russel Sorapuru Sr., a WWII veteran and member of the Red Ball Express.

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