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A hat returned 50 years later


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I figured this belonged here. At the University I teach at one day I get a call from the mail room. They had a box with no return address and a note saying "I stole this hat from Col. Gabe as a prank and regretted it ever since, please return it to him."

 

I'm the resident military nerd, so they called me. The hat in question is a early '60s custom job from Flight Ace, with O-5 "scrambled eggs" on the visor. There was a "property of" card in the crown so that made my job a little easier. Also, this hat was one of the smallest military hats I've ever come across, size 6 and 3/8s.

 

It took about a day but I found that Don Gabe had been a Professor of Military Science for the ROTC program in the middle 1960s. He had a decent career as a Engineer, eventually retiring as a full Colonel. After I found that I set about looking for his family. That was kinda bleak as it looks like he lost two children early on and his wife passed in 2008. He died in 2013. I found his surviving son, I thought, so I shot an e-mail to him. And I was right! It was one of the weird "out of the blue" moments for him.

 

So last week I sent the hat back to his son. A fun little story with a great ending.

 

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Always looking for:

525th Quartermaster Company related stuff (Vietnam, 66-68)

82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron militaria (Pacific Theater, 1943-1945)

British Cap badges and headgear.

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Excellent work!

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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