Angela Bennett-Engele flew into VPS on Monday afternoon. When she got in her rental car, she realized she was missing something important: her father's dog tags. The tags are all she has left of her father and she hopes to find them before she leaves Thursday afternoon
EGLIN AFB — Angela Bennett-Engele lost her father when she was only 2 years old.
Her father, Captain Steven L. Bennett, was serving in the Air Force in Vietnam when he was killed in action on June 29, 1972.
When Angela was in high school, members of her father’s unit gave her a special gift: a set of dog tags with her father’s military information. She has worn them every day since, along with a tag for a melon allergy she has. Now, those three dog tags are missing.
She discovered the loss after flying into the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport Monday. Angela retraced her steps all the way back to the gate but could not find the tags.
“I almost started crying,” Angela said. “I know they aren’t my dad but it’s all I have left. Deep down, I’m still the little girl who wants her dad.”
Angela is only in town until Thursday afternoon and hopes to leave with the tags in tow.
“It would be wonderful,” Angela said. “I don’t want to leave them here.”
Angela’s father trained at Hurlburt Field before going to war in Vietnam and never returning home. Angela said in a strange way, leaving on Thursday without the tags would be like leaving her father all over again.
Angela flew into the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport near Eglin Air Force Base on American Airlines flight 1047 seat 10B on Monday afternoon. She got off the plane at gate C4. She made her way to baggage claim, then to the national rental car counter before heading to her rental car in spot 353.
When she got into her rental car, she went to put her necklace with the tags over her seatbelt, something she does every time she gets in a car. When she went to move the necklace on Monday, the chain broke off into her hands and the dog tags were gone.
Anyone who finds the tags or has information on their whereabouts, should report it to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport lost and found at (850) 651-7166.