WWII Dog Tags Found on Rockaway Beach in 1966 Returned to Queens Family | NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

WWII Dog Tags Found on Rockaway Beach in 1966 Returned to Queens Family

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Audrey Berk
    Audrey Berk (left), of Queens, and Laurie Lubin of Bellmore, hold the World War II dog tags of Berk's father, Irving Isaac. Lubin found the tags on Rockaway Beach in the summer of 1966 and spent the next 50 years trying to return them.

    What to Know

    • A Long Island woman completed her quest to return the lost dog tags of a World War II veteran

    • She was only 14 years old when she found them 50 years ago on Rockaway Beach

    • She returned them to the veteran's daughter, who lives just a few miles away in Queens

    It took 50 years for a Long Island woman to finally complete her quest to return a World War II veteran's lost dog tags she found on a New York City beach.

    Laurie Lubin, of Bellmore, began her search by poring over phone books in the 1960s and continued into the internet era. She recently hit pay dirt when she learned that one of the veteran's daughters lives just a few miles away in Queens.

    Lubin's quest to find Brooklyn native Irving Isaacs began in the summer of '66 when she was about to turn 14. One day at Rockaway Beach in Queens, she spotted something shiny in the sand: a pair of dog tags on a metal chain, along with a small metal mezuzah, a religious pendant some Jewish servicemen attached to their tags. She knew immediately what the items were because her father still had his own mezuzah-accessorized dog tags from serving in the Army during WWII.

    Lubin took the dog tags home and tried to find Isaacs' name in New York City phone books, but was unsuccessful. During the decades that followed, Lubin would periodically resume her mission to track down Isaacs, only to keep hitting dead ends. Her obsession with finding him became a running joke in her family.

    Man Braves Iowa Flood Waters to Save Deer

    [NATL-DFW] Man Braves Iowa Flood Waters to Save Deer
    An Iowa man risks his own life to save a deer from Cedar River floodwaters. (Published Monday, Sept. 26, 2016)

    Last February, she read an Associated Press story about an Indiana soldier's WWII dog tag being returned to his family after it was found on the Pacific island of Saipan.

    She contacted the AP, which led to the news agency's Randy Herschaft, an investigative researcher based in Manhattan, digging up information on two WWII U.S. Army veterans from New York named Irving Isaacs. One had changed his name after the war and moved to California, where he died in 1994. The other had remained in New York until his death in 1992.

    Lubin tracked down a daughter of the veteran who died in California. She confirmed to Lubin that her father had been born Irving Isaacs in New York, but had changed his name after the war. Based on that information, Lubin mailed the dog tags to her in late July. Soon afterward, she learned from Herschaft that his review of military and civilian records of the two men determined the dog tags actually belonged to the Irving Isaacs who stayed in New York.

    After being notified of the mistake, the woman in California mailed the tags back to Lubin.

    What Visitors Can Expect at African American History Museum

    [NATL-DC] What Visitors Can Expect at African American History Museum
    Dr. Greg Carr, associate professor and chair of the department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, discusses the the significance of the museum and what can people expect when they walk in. (Published Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016)

    Disappointed, but still determined to find the family of the right Irving Isaacs, Lubin then used newly obtained information by Herschaft to contact Audrey Berk, one of the New York Isaacs' two daughters.

    Lubin, 64, phoned Berk earlier this month with the news that she had found her father's WWII dog tags.

    "I was shocked," Berk, 66, told the AP. "Then we started talking and I know her family, which is even more shocking."

    It turned out Berk lived in the same Queens apartment complex as Lubin's husband's ex-wife and children. Berk has long known the Lubin family, but had never meet Laurie. The two women met for the first time on Aug. 22 at a restaurant near Lubin's home. Lubin handed over the dog tags to a flabbergasted Berk.

    "It was just amazing. I was speechless," said Berk, who plans to send one of the tags to her sister, Joanne Isaacs, of Flagstaff, Arizona.

    For Lubin's part, she's glad she stuck to it all those years.

    "I'm just so happy to return it to them," she said, adding the Yiddish word "bashert."

    Rough translation: "It was meant to be."

    Charlotte Unrest Continues After Police Release Videos

    [NATL]Charlotte Unrest Continues After Police Release Videos
    Protests continued in Charlotte overnight after police released dash and body camera footage showing the deadly encounter between officers and Keith Scott. It's what protesters demanded for days but police only released portions of the video. NBC's Sarah Rosario reports. (Published Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016)

    Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytime