Monday, April 29, 2013

Cold Case Files -- Belles

Case #1

John D. Belles


Since the 1990's we have been recovering personal effects from Americans, left behind in Vietnam.  We have returned many of these treasures to both surviving families and veterans they belonged to.  Please visit our list at:

Sadly, there are some "Cold Cases" where we have been unsuccessful in finding either the families or veteran recipients.  After exhausting our resources, without result, we have decided to reactivate many of these cases and begin a new phase of appealing to the public to help us find the deserved recipient of each effect.  This is the first of many cold cases to come:  We hope that you (the public) will know the names we present, the families, veterans, or soldiers who served with the name on the personal effect we publicize.  In this age of social networking, perhaps everyone of reads about these cases will kindly share them with friends, families, veterans and become involved in reuniting these precious and meaningful effects to recipients who deserve them.

Perhaps you can play a role in helping families and veterans put a "period" on their story -- help surviving families find healing and closure from the Vietnam experience by help TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans return these objects, many worn next to the heart, to those who need something to symbolize closure.

Our first cases will focus on American soldiers Killed-In-Action personal effects, of whom we have not been able to locate their direct surviving family.

Case #1 is a dog tag belonging to John David Belles.  John was born August 26, 1948, and was from Chicago.  John was a Marine Corps Corporal and on October 13, 1968, he was killed-in-action by small arms fire, in the Quang Tri region, not far from the DMZ.  His USMC military occupation was 0351:

Assaultman Marine Corps MOS 0351 USMC Military

John's dog tag was recovered by TOP in Hue, 2007.  Hue is the largest city nearest the Quang Tri province.  Corporal Belles served in a hot bed of activity during a very bloody year ... the year of the 1968 Tet offensive, especially violent in the city of Hue.

Our policy is to return the effect to the nearest surviving family member. For example, John's father and/or mother, if still living. John's information is available to the public on sites such as; therefore, as you can imagine, anyone could make a claim to the effect, who is not a family member--consequently, we hope you understand that it is important we ensure the effect is returned to a verified family member. One way we do this is match up the information on the dog tag with information the family provides. For example, John's tag contains some additional unpublished information: Blood Type, Religious Preference (as well as gas mask size). Additionally, it is most often the case that family recipients provide rich details which assures us that we are indeed sending the effect to a bona fide close family member.

We take great care in protecting this treasure and look forward to reuniting this treasure with family.  Otherwise, the tag could fall into the wrong hands. Thank you, in advance, for your understanding and any
assistance in finding John Belles' nearest direct relative who can also verify a match.

We recovered this dog tag in 2007 and look forward to a 2013 homecoming -- 6 years (actually, decades later) -- we will be honored to return this treasure to your family.  Please help TOP accomplish this mission.

For a complete list of Personal Effects recovered by TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans, please visit:

Thank you for your help in reuniting this treasure with the surviving family of this fallen American hero.