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Understanding the History of US Military Dog Tags for Soldiers

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 0 1

Do you care for or love your pet? One way that we show our affection for our four legged friends (dogs) is to put a tag around their neck with the dogs name, the owner's telephone number and address. If something should ever happen to them, when they are found, the finder will know who and where to return the dog to. In the military, sad, but true, for centuries, in times of war, it is inevitable that military personnel will lose their lives, and a proper burial will need to take place. However, if the Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor or Coastie is not identified, this process may take longer.

Sometimes to fully understand the importance of something, we must learn and know the history. Since the civil war of 1861-1865 the identification of military personnel has been an issue. Many of the service members affiliated with this war would pin slips of paper with their name and address to the backs of their coats, they'd stencil their information on their knapsacks and they'd scratch their vital information on the soft lead on the back of their Army belt buckle. The civil war had countless casualties whose headstones read 'unknown', because record keeping wasn't an easy task and many grave locations were lost due to wartime conditions.

Congress, in 1862 passed an act that would establish national cemeteries for those that have fallen in war. From 1862 -1906, different forms of identification systems were presented. Finally, in 1906, the circular aluminum disc was presented and in 1913, these ID tags were made mandatory and were to be worn around the neck like a tag a dog would wear. The second tag was added in 1916. The nickname 'dog tags' was adopted during WWII when the round disc was replaced with the rectangular tag with a notch. At the end of 1944, silencers were placed on the tags, and by the late 1950s, the notched dog tag was discontinued and replaced with the dog tags of today that do not have notches.

Still today, when someone joins the military, he or she is aware that there may be a chance of going to war, and that the most meaningful sacrifice he or she could ever make and is willing to make, may become a reality. Just like in the days of old, upon enlisting, one is issued a set of dog tags. This is the most important item ever issued and should not be handled carelessly. Sometimes though, the importance of these tags is dismissed by a significant other asking for one of them. Granted, more can be made, and if your significant other feels the time is right, he or she will give you one. If the time is right, and you receive this most important tag, handle it with the most care you've given anything. Hold it in highest regard and make sure nothing ever happens to it. It is more than an honor to receive a tag from someone you care about and or love. If, however, you do not receive one, don't take it the wrong way because as mentioned earlier, this is how he or she will be identified if something horrible should happen, and they are of utmost importance. Do you care for or love your Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor or Coastie?

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Comments

Dec 3, 2009 3:18am
goingforbroke
Very interesting thanks for the info.
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