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California Desert District
Release Date: 08/16/11
Contacts: David Briery, 951-697-5220    
News Release No. CA-CDD-11-70

Lost Dog Tags of Soldier in World War II Desert Training Found; Tags to be Returned to Decorated Soldier’s Family Tomorrow

Somewhere around 1942, Private Ova Napier of Clemons, Ky., lost his dog tags during World War II training exercises outside of Blythe, Calif.  This portion of the California Desert managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now under development for the Blythe Solar Power Project, projected to become the world’s largest solar facility.  The tags were found during the cultural and environmental review of the site and will be returned to Private Napier’s family in a ceremony at the General Patton Memorial Museum, Chiriaco, Calif., at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

With the written approval of his grandfather, Private Napier had joined the U.S. Army on Aug. 5, 1942, by attesting that he was two years older than his actual age of 16.  During his World War II service, Napier served in the European Theater in France and Luxembourg.  He later served in Japan and Africa, where he contracted tuberculosis.  With his health under control, he was honorably discharged in 1945 at the age of 19.

Four years later, Napier reenlisted to serve during the Korean War.  On July 28, 1950, during a battle in Korea, Napier drove his vehicle through opposing fire to man an important gun position that would provide cover for the rest of his squad.  His vehicle was badly damaged by shrapnel, but Napier maintained his composure and held down his position.  His actions resulted in the protection of his squad and earned him a bronze star.  He was honorably discharged again in 1954.

Ova Napier died in 1989 at the age of 62 from lung cancer, a complication from contracting tuberculosis during World War II.  On Wednesday, his daughter, Joy Harvey and his granddaughter, Jennifer Fisk will represent his family in accepting his tags at the Patton Museum.


California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553  

Last updated: 08-17-2011