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Flowery Branch man seeking owner of Navy dog tag
Person who wore it possibly served during World War II
Metal detector enthusiast Mark Whipkey dug up this World War II-era dog tag recently near Green Street Pool. Whipkey hopes to return the item to its owner or a relative.

Seeking dog tag owner

Anyone with information about the military dog tag belonging to Raymond Francis Cherpak is asked to call Mark Whipkey at 770-965-9638 or 678-283-0827.

A Flowery Branch man is trying to find the rightful owner of a dog tag he believes could have been worn by a World War II-era sailor.

Mark Whipkey found the oval-shaped metal object last month, with the help of his metal detector, while walking across a grassy area at Green Street Pool in Gainesville.

After digging about 8 inches into the ground, he found the object. Clearly etched on it are the name, Raymond Francis Cherpak, and service identification numbers.

The tag further says "USNR," likely a Navy designation of some kind, and then the letters "AB," the sailor's blood type.

Also on the tag is "T4/45," which "has to do with a job description or something like that," Whipkey said. "It's some type of a classification."

Whipkey knows something about dog tags, having served in the U.S. Army for 11 1/2 years, including as a tank commander during the Gulf War of 1990-91.

What struck him was the tag's shape — oval, compared to the more common rectangular version. Another difference was the hole on either side of the tag.

He found a website that showed a similarly shaped dog tag made during World War II.

The remaining mystery is the whereabouts of the owner or the owner's family.

"I was thinking, ever since I found it, about who would I call," said Whipkey, president of the Stone Mountain Treasure Hunters Club. "I looked in the phone book and there's nobody with that last name."

An Internet search also turned up empty.

"I've talked to some people in my club and, like they said, this could have (belonged to) somebody who came here to visit and doesn't even live here. ... There's a good chance that even if they grew up here, they live in a different state."

Whipkey said he welcomes inquiries about the dog tag.

"The ultimate goal (in object finds) is if there are any kind of identifiable markings, I try my best to get (the object) back to the owner," he said.