WWII veteran reunited with dog tags 74 years later

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An Army veteran, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, was reunited with an original piece of his identification -- 74 years later. 

Boris Stern lives in the Bay Area, and hadn't seen his dog tag in decades, until someone found it.

"Of the original 180 that I went overseas with, there are only 18 of us left," Stern tells FOX 13. "Some were killed, some were wounded. Sounds crazy, I know, but that's what happened."

At the age of 17, Stern was living in Chicago, Illinois. On August 12, 1943, he enlisted in the Army. Instead of being drafted, Stern volunteered and wanted to be on the ground.

Five months later, on D-Day, Stern landed on the iconic beach in Normandy with his dog tags around his neck that had his military ID number. 

"161768," Stern recalled. "It's like your Social Security number. I know that one too."

Stern would later be at the Battle of the Bulge, the costliest battle -- in terms of American lives -- in the entire war. Somewhere in between France and Belgium, he lost those dog tags. Seven decades later, he still believed they were lost for ever.

That is until the phone rang on December 23 of last year.

Someone found the dog tags on the beach of Normandy. The person did the legwork and contacted the right people in the states. Those people got a hold of Boris and they were in his mailbox within 10 days.

"It was like somebody hit me in the chest," he described. "It brought back a whole bunch of memories of things I hadn't thought about."

Stern was invited back to France for a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.