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Most #veterans serve their country and return home to loving families and grateful communities. However, for others, they may never return home, and they seem to disappear off the face of the earth.

A unique website called Veterandoe.com was established to help identify missing people who have a connection to the military. The site publishes information on people who are missing and also lists descriptions of people who died and can’t be identified by local authorities.

Help ID veteran ‘Harlem Marine John Doe’

An example would be the case of “Harlem Marine John Doe.” In 1997, he was electrocuted on the third rail of New York’s subway system.

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He has never been identified despite a particularly distinctive US Marine Corps tattoo on his upper arm.

The tattoo is for the 1st Force Reconnaissance unit based out of Camp Pendleton, California. This is an elite unit and membership, both active and retired, would be relatively small. However, despite years of exposure on the internet nobody has successfully identified the man.

Because he could never be properly identified and verified as a US Marine, he is buried in a pauper’s grave.

His case is the first the organization tried to help solve, and they are still working on identifying the man.

A surprise ending for one case

These are the types of cases Veterandoe.com tries to solve. The site’s information has already been a help to the military, but not in the way it was originally intended to work.

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According to WFTV.com, a local TV news outlet from Florida, a missing serviceman from the US Air Force was located in Seminole County, Florida. The man, Jeffrey Michels, was reported missing by the Air Force in 1977. Veterandoe.com placed his information on their website and shortly thereafter Air Force investigators located him living under another name in Florida.

He was arrested for desertion and is currently in custody of the US Air Force, awaiting trial.

Tough, slow, and methodical work

The links to veterans can often be tenuous. For example, an unidentified corpse might be discovered with a piece of jewelry or wearing a shirt with a military connection, that is enough for the organization to act. They will list the body along with a description and link to the official missing person report on identifyus.org. They also provide links to services for people who are looking for a missing relative.

The group states on their Facebook page that they hope to harness the power of social media to spread the information about the missing and the unidentified remains of possible service members. Posting the information on shareable social platforms increases the chances of identification. #veteransday #thankyou