Piet van Schuppen, 66, of Gelderland, the Netherlands, is sending Phillip Nichols' dog tag to his cousin in Battle Creek, The Lansing State Journal reported. The Lansing veteran and former Oldsmobile employee died in 2003.
Nichols enlisted in the military as soon as he could. His father, Sanford Nichols, served in World War I.
The younger Nichols went to the Netherlands with the U.S. Army for Operation Market Garden in September of 1944, when he was 19. He had previously fought in Normandy on D-Day. The Army issued Nichols a Browning Automatic Rifle, a 20-pound gun capable of firing 150 rounds per minute that was only given to soldiers who were strong enough to handle it.
He eventually earned a Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. military decoration of valor, for helping wounded comrades while battling German forces. At some point during his tour, Nichols dropped his dog tag.
The Lansing State Journal helped locate Nichols' relatives through social media. His cousin, Herb Nichols, will accept the dog tag that van Schuppen found with a metal detector in 2007.
Herb Nichols said getting the tag is a miracle.
"I just wish he was here to get it himself," he said.