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A Baton Rouge family is on a mission to find a missing military relic. It is a plaque that was dedicated to their grandfather 40 years ago. It disappeared from the Louisiana National Guard Armory near the Baton Rouge Airport sometime after it closed.
Lauren Folse hangs on to the few keepsakes she has of her late grandfather, Army National Guard Lt. Colonel Henry Arthur Folse.
"That's my grandmother, June, and that's my grandfather," Lauren Folse pointed out in a collection of old family photos.
The World War II veteran was a Special Forces Commander for the 2222nd Engineer Battalion. A heart attack took his life at the young age of 50. Lauren had not even been born.
"I've often thought about what it must to have felt like then, for him to have to sacrifice and leave," Folse said.
The very next year a new National Guard Armory near the Baton Rouge Airport was named in his honor. A plaque dedicating the new armory to LTC Folse's memory was unveiled. The inscription read, "LTC Henry Arthur Folse, patriot, citizen soldier in war and peace, defender of state and country."
"I remember my dad taking us to see the plaque when we were younger," Folse said.
Lauren said she continued the tradition as she grew older. But three years ago, she said when she took her significant other to visit the armory the building was empty and the plaque was gone.
"The day I drove up and it wasn't there, it was wild. Where would you even start," Folse said.
Lauren said she slid a note under the door hoping to get some answers but got nowhere. That did not stop her.
"I called museums and I was directed to different people. I got calls from recruiters for the next two or three months because they thought I was trying to get into the National Guard."
Three years later, Lauren has not given up. On her journey to honor his memory, she is learning more about her grandfather. LTC Folse wasn't just a WWII commander. He was also a journalist as the assistant editor for the State Times newspaper.
"He started there around 1963. He was still a student at LSU. I pulled up the articles, and I was like, 'this is so cool.' It was so neat to read," Folse said.
Lauren said the connection she has to her grandfather only grows stronger. The more she discovers about him the more eager she becomes to find his medal of honor. Not just for her, but for future generations of her family.
"It's something to pass along. It's something. Even though the building is no longer dedicated to him, his service and what he gave and sacrificed is something I would like to pass down," Folse said.
The Louisiana National Guard said they are looking for it too.