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Postal encounter solves MIA mystery

January 27, 2023

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When Unity, ME, Retail Associate Barb Henkle greeted customer Leonard Lazure recently, she noticed his cap indicated he is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

She thanked him for his service and showed him a missing-in-action bracelet she purchased 50 years ago.

These bracelets are metal cuffs that were created in the 1970s in support of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.

Her bracelet was engraved with the name of Staff Sgt. Robert Tabb and gave his missing date as April 12, 1970.

After examining the cuff, Lazure left. He didn’t know Tabb, but he did serve at the same time and in the same First Cavalry air mobile division.

He soon returned to the Post Office with research on the staff sergeant.

Tabb’s plane had been shot down in Southeast Asia in 1970, after which he was held as a prisoner of war. He was released in 1973, along with many other American soldiers, and continued to serve in the Army until his retirement in 1993.

Although the Bronze Star recipient died in 2018, Lazure had enough information that Henkle was able to contact Tabb’s widow.

“I cried, I was just so happy after I got done talking with her on the phone,” Henkle said. “I told her [the bracelet] belonged with her family and not with mine.”

The Postal Service employee shipped the bracelet to Tabb’s widow, closing the loop on a half-century of support.

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