Dog tag (identifier)
Overview
 
A dog tag is the informal name for the identification tags worn by military personnel, named such as it bears resemblance to actual dog tags. The tag is primarily used for the identification of dead and wounded and essential basic medical information for the treatment of the latter, such as blood type
Blood type
A blood type is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells . These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system...

 and history of inoculation
Inoculation
Inoculation is the placement of something that will grow or reproduce, and is most commonly used in respect of the introduction of a serum, vaccine, or antigenic substance into the body of a human or animal, especially to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease...

s, along with providing religious preference. Dog tags are usually fabricated from a corrosion-resistant metal or alloy such as aluminum, monel
Monel
Monel is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation for a series of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel and copper, with some iron and other trace elements. Monel was created by David H. Browne, chief metallurgist for International Nickel Co...

 or stainless-steel, although, during wartime, they have been made from whatever metals were available.
Encyclopedia
A dog tag is the informal name for the identification tags worn by military personnel, named such as it bears resemblance to actual dog tags. The tag is primarily used for the identification of dead and wounded and essential basic medical information for the treatment of the latter, such as blood type
Blood type
A blood type is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells . These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system...

 and history of inoculation
Inoculation
Inoculation is the placement of something that will grow or reproduce, and is most commonly used in respect of the introduction of a serum, vaccine, or antigenic substance into the body of a human or animal, especially to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease...

s, along with providing religious preference. Dog tags are usually fabricated from a corrosion-resistant metal or alloy such as aluminum, monel
Monel
Monel is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation for a series of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel and copper, with some iron and other trace elements. Monel was created by David H. Browne, chief metallurgist for International Nickel Co...

 or stainless-steel, although, during wartime, they have been made from whatever metals were available. In the US military, if the member has a medical condition that requires special attention, an additional, red tag with the pertinent information is issued and worn with the dog tags.

In the US Military, wearing of the tag is required at all times by soldiers in the field. It may contain two copies of the information and be designed to break easily into two pieces. This allows half the tag to be collected for notification while the other half remains with the body when battle conditions do not allow the casualty to be immediately recovered. Alternatively, in the US Military, two identical tags are issued. One is worn on a long chain around the neck; the second on a much smaller chain attached to the first chain. In the event the wearer is killed, the second tag is collected, and the first remains with the body. Alternatively, some units allow or require each member to wear one laced into their boot in lieu of the second around the neck.

History

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 of 1861-1865, some soldiers pinned paper notes with their name and home address to the backs of their coats. Other soldiers stencilled identification on their knapsacks or scratched it in the soft lead backing of the Army belt buckle.

Manufacturers of identification badges recognized a market and began advertising in periodicals. Their pins were usually shaped to suggest a branch of service and engraved with the soldier's name and unit. Machine-stamped tags were also made of brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 or lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 with a hole and usually had (on one side) an eagle or shield and such phrases as "War for the Union" or "Liberty, Union, and Equality". The other side had the soldier's name and unit and sometimes a list of battle
Battle
Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. In a battle, each combatant will seek to defeat the others, with defeat determined by the conditions of a military campaign...

s in which he had participated.

A New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

er named John Kennedy wrote to the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in 1862, offering to furnish discs for all officers and men in the Federal Army, enclosing a design for the disc. The National Archives now has the letter along with the reply, a summary refusal without explanation.

In the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

, soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s purchased crude stamped identification tags, sometimes with misleading information.

Franco-Prussian War

The Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n Army issued identification tags for its troops at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 in 1870. They were nicknamed Hundemarken (the German equivalent of "dog tags") and compared to a similar identification system instituted for dogs in the Prussian capital city of Berlin at about the same time.

First World War

The British Army and their Imperial forces in Canada, Australia and New Zealand issued identification tags from the beginning of the First World War. The tags were made of fibre, one in red and one in green, and suspended around the neck by butcher's twine. The same pattern was worn into the Second World War and the Korean War by Commonwealth forces.

The U.S. Army first authorized identification tags in War Department General Order No. 204, dated December 20, 1906, which essentially prescribes the Kennedy identification tag:

"An aluminum identification tag, the size of a silver half dollar and of suitable thickness, stamped with the name, rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

, company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

, regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

, or corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 of the wearer, will be worn by each officer and enlisted man of the Army whenever the field kit is worn, the tag to be suspended from the neck, underneath the clothing, by a cord or thong passed through a small hole in the tab. It is prescribed as a part of the uniform and when not worn as directed herein will be habitually kept in the possession of the owner. The tag will be issued by the Quartermaster's Department gratuitously to enlisted men and at cost price to officers..."


The Army changed regulations on July 6, 1916, so that all soldiers were issued two tags: one to stay with the body and the other to go to the person in charge of the burial for record-keeping purposes. In 1918, the Army adopted and allotted the serial number
Serial number
A serial number is a unique number assigned for identification which varies from its successor or predecessor by a fixed discrete integer value...

 system, and name and serial numbers were ordered stamped on the identification tags of all enlisted troops. (Serial number 1 was assigned to enlisted man Arthur B. Crane of Chicago in the course of his fifth enlistment period.) In 1969, the Army began transitioning (servicemen were issued both a SSN and SN) to the Social Security number
Social Security number
In the United States, a Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents under section 205 of the Social Security Act, codified as . The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent...

 for personnel identification. Some nations (e.g., Germany) instead had a single tag with identical information stamped on both sides of it, which could easily be broken off for the purpose of record keeping.

World War II

There is a recurring myth about the notch situated in one end of the dog tags issued to United States Army personnel during World War II. It was rumored that the notch's purpose was that, if a soldier found one of his comrades on the battlefield, he could take one tag to the commanding officer and stick the other between the teeth of the soldier to ensure that the tag would remain with the body and be identified. In reality, the notch was designed to hold the tag in place when being imprinted on the carbon-paper medical form by the Model 70 Addressograph
Addressograph
An addressograph is an address labeler and labeling system.In 1896, the first U.S. patent for an addressing machine, the Addressograph was issued to Joseph Smith Duncan of Sioux City, Iowa. It was a development of the invention he had made in 1892. His earlier model consisted of a hexagonal wood...

 (a pistol-type imprinting machine used by the Medical Department during World War II). The purpose and use of the notch was verified by a Snopes article, in which Snopes consulted with US Army Mortuary Affairs
Mortuary Affairs
right|thumbnail|A soldier from a graves registration unit attempts identification of a skull during [[World War II]]Mortuary Affairs is a service within the United States Army Quartermaster Corps tasked with the retrieval, identification, transportation, and burial of deceased American and...

.

As a side note, it appears instructions that would confirm the notch's mythical use were issued at least unofficially by the Graves Registration Service during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to Army troops headed overseas.

Following World War II, the US Navy Department adopted the dog tags used by the US Army and Air Force, so a single shape and size became the American standard.

Vietnam

In the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, American soldiers were allowed to place rubber silencers on their dog tags so the enemy would not hear the metallic clanking. Others chose to tape the two tags together with black tape. Still others chose to wear one tag around the neck and the other tag on the lace of one boot. All three variations were commonly seen among U.S. troops.

Dog tags are traditionally part of the makeshift battlefield memorials soldiers created for their fallen comrades. The casualty's rifle with bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

 affixed is stood vertically atop the empty boots, with the helmet over the stock of the rifle. The dog tags hang from the rifle's handle or trigger guard.

Non-military use

Dog tags have recently found their way into youth fashion by way of military chic. Originally worn as a part of a military uniform by youth wishing to present a tough or militaristic image, dog tags have since seeped out into wider fashion circles. They may be inscribed with a person's details, their beliefs or tastes, a favorite quote, or may bear the name or logo of a band or performer. Some people also prefer to have the information on their tags transferred to a smaller, sometimes golden or silver tag by a jeweler, as the original tag can be considered too large and bulky by some. Some are also used for health problems, such as heart problems or epilepsy.

Fashion

Since the late 1990s, custom dog tags have become fashionable amongst musicians (particularly rappers), and as a marketing giveaway item. Numerous companies offer customers the opportunity to create their own personalized dog tags with their own photos, logos, and text. Even high end jewelers such as Cartier
Cartier SA
Cartier S.A., commonly known as Cartier , is a French luxury jeweler and watch manufacturer. The corporation carries the name of the Cartier family of jewellers whose control ended in 1964 and who were known for numerous pieces including the "Bestiary" , the diamond necklace created for Bhupinder...

 and Tiffany
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. is an American jewelry and silverware company. As part of its branding, the company is strongly associated with its Tiffany Blue , which is a registered trademark.- History :...

 have featured gold and silver dog tags encrusted with diamonds and other jewels.

Argentina

Argentinian ID tags are long, rectangular metal pieces with oval ends. Four lines of information are required:
  • Family Name and First Name
  • 8-digit DNI Number
  • GS (blood group, e.g., G.S O RH +)
  • Military class (e.g., F.W CS-10-81)

Austria

The Austrian "Bundesheer" utilized a single long, rectangular tag with oval ends, stamped with blood group & Rh factor at the end, with ID number underneath. Two slots & a hole stamped beneath the number allow the tag to be broken in half, and the long bottom portion has both the ID number and a series of holes which allows the tag to be inserted into a dosimeter
Dosimeter
Dosimeters measure an individual's or an object'sexposure to something in the environment — particularly to a hazard inflicting cumulative impact over long periods of time, or over a lifetime...

. This has been replaced with a more conventional, wider & rounded rectangle which can still be halved, but lacks the dosimeter reading holes.

Australia

The Australian Defence Force issues soldiers two tags of different shapes: Number 1 Tag (the octagonal shaped disc) and Number 2 Tag (the circular disc). The format is as follows:
  • AS [denoting Australia]
  • PMKeyS Number [The Australian Defence Force stopped issuing service numbers to members. Some older members also have a service number.]
  • Initial
  • Last Name
  • Religious Preference [RC - Roman Catholic, ANG - Anglican, ]
  • Blood Group

Example:
  • AS
  • 8549302
  • D
  • SMITH
  • RC
  • A POS

The information is printed exactly the same on both discs. In the event of a casualty, the circular tag is removed from the body and the octagonal tag is placed inside the dead soldier’s mouth, between the teeth and lips.

Belgium

Belgian Forces identity tags are, like the Canadian and Norwegian, designed to be broken in two in case of fatality; the lower half is returned to Belgian Defence Headquarters, while the upper half remains on the body. The tags contain the following information:
  • Upper half:
    • Belgisch Leger (Belgian Army)
    • Service number
    • Surname
    • Gender
    • Date of birth
    • Religion and blood group with RH factor

  • Lower half: identical.

Canada

Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 identity discs (abbreviated "I discs") are designed to be broken in two in the case of fatality; the lower half is returned to National Defence Headquarters with the member's personal documents, while the upper half remains on the body. The tags contain the following information:
  • Upper half:
    • Service Number (SN)
    • Initials and surname
    • Religion (or "NRE" if none) and blood group with RH factor
    • The legend "CDN FORCES CDN" (or for foreign nationals, the name of the country the individual represents)
    • The text "DO NOT REMOVE / NE PAS ENLEVER" on the reverse
  • Lower half: identical, except it does not contain the blood type, and the reverse is blank.


Before the Service Number was introduced in the 1990s, military personnel were identified on the I discs (as well as other documents) by their Social Insurance Number
Social Insurance Number
A social insurance number is a number issued in Canada to administer various government programs. The SIN was created in 1964 to serve as a client account number in the administration of the Canada Pension Plan and Canada's varied employment insurance programs. In 1967, Revenue Canada started...

.

Colombia

The "Ejército Nacional de Colombia" uses long, rectangular metal tags with oval ends tags stamped with the following information:
  • Family Name
  • First Name
  • Military ID Number
  • Blood Type
  • Branch of Service


Duplicate tags are issued. Often, tags are issued with a prayer inscribed on the reverse.

Cyprus

In Cyprus, identification tags include the following information:
  • Surname
    Family name
    A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

  • First name
  • Service number (E.g., 11111/00/00B, where the first five digits are the ID, the second two are the year the soldier turned 18 years old, the last two digits are the year the soldier enlisted, and the letter is the enlistment group, either A or B)
  • Blood Group

Denmark

Danish
Military of Denmark
The armed forces of the Kingdom of Denmark, known as the Danish Defence is charged with the defence of the Kingdom of Denmark.The Chief of Defence is the head of the Danish Armed Forces, and is head of the Defence Command which is managed by the Ministry of Defence. Constitutionally, the...

 dog tags are a small metallic plate, designed to be broken in two. The information on the tag is:
  • Personal identification number
    Personal identification number (Denmark)
    The Danish Personal Identification number is a national identification number, which is part of the personal information stored in the Civil Registration System ....

  • Surname
  • First name

On the right hand side of the tag it says Danmark, the Danish word for "Denmark".

East Germany

The Nationale Volksarmee used a tag nearly identical with that used by both the Wehrmacht and the (West) German Bundeswehr. The oval aluminum tag was stamped "DDR" (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) above the personal ID number; this information was repeated on the bottom half, which was intended to be broken off in case of death. Oddly, the tag was not worn, but required to be kept in a plastic sleeve in the back of the WDA identity booklet.

Ecuador

The "Placas de identificación de campaña" consists of 2 long, rectangular steel or aluminum tags with rounded corners and a single hole punched in one end. It is suspended by a US-type ball chain, with a shorter chain for the second tag. The information on the tag is:
  • Family Name & First Name
  • Identification Number
  • Blood Group, plus "RH" and "+" or "-"

Finland

Finnish
Finnish Defence Forces
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. It is a cadre army of 15,000, of which 8,900 are professional soldiers , extended with conscripts and reservists such that the standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform...

 dog tags are also designed to be broken in two; however, the only text on it is the personal identification number and the letters SF, which stands for Suomi Finland, within a tower
Finnish Defence Forces
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. It is a cadre army of 15,000, of which 8,900 are professional soldiers , extended with conscripts and reservists such that the standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform...

 stamped atop of the upper half.

France

France issues either a metallic rounded rectangle (Army) or disk (Navy), designed to be broken in half, bearing Family Name & First Name above the ID number.

Germany

German Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 ID tags are a oval-shaped discs designed to be broken in half. The two sides contain different informations which are mirrored upside-down on the lower half of the ID tag. They feature the following information on segmented and numbered fields:

On the frontside
  • Field 1: blank
  • Field 2: DEU (for Deutschland)(GE (for Germany) only on older ID tags)
  • Field 3: Religious preference (usually "rk" for Roman Catholic, or "ev" for Protestant)
  • Field 4: Personenkennziffer (service number: birth date in DDMMYY format, dash, capitalized first letter of last name, dash, and five-digit number based on soldier's home military administrative district, number of persons with the mentioned last name and same birthday, and an error-checking number but without dashes), ex. 101281-S-455(-)6(-)8


On the backside
  • Field 5: Blood group (ABO)
  • Field 6: Rhesus factor
  • Field 7: Vaccination status
  • Fields 8 - 10: blank

Greece

In Greece, identification tags include the following information:
  • Surname
    Family name
    A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

  • First name
  • Service number (where date of birth is included as "class")
  • Blood Group

Hungary

The Hungarian
Military of Hungary
The Hungarian Defence Force is the national military of Hungary. It currently has two branches, the Hungarian Ground Force and the Hungarian Air Force....

 army dog tag is made out of steel, forming a 25×35 mm tag designed to split diagonally. Both sides contain the same information: the soldier's personal identity code, blood group and the word HUNGARIA. Some may not have the blood group on them. These are only issued to soldiers who are serving outside of the country. If the soldier should die, one side is removed and kept for the army's official records, while the other side is left attached to the body.

Iraq

The Saddam-era Iraqi Army utilized a single, long, rectangular metal tag with oval ends, inscribed (usually by hand) with Name and Number or Unit, and occasionally Blood Type.

Israel

Israeli
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 dog tags are designed to be broken in two. The information appears in three lines (twice):
  • Army identification number ("mispar ishi", literally: personal number. A seven-digit number that is different from the nine-digit identification number
    Teudat Zehut
    Teudat Zehut is the Israeli compulsory identity document, as prescribed in the Identity Card Carrying and Displaying Act of 1982:Any resident sixteen years of age or older must at all times carry an Identity card, and present it upon demand to a senior police officer, head of Municipal or Regional...

     for citizens).
  • Last name
  • First Name


In case of capture, Israeli soldiers are instructed to provide the information that appears on the dog tag and their rank only.
Another dog tag is kept inside the military boot in order to identify dead soldiers.

Originally the IDF issued two circular aluminum tags (1948 - late 1950s) stamped in 3 lines with Serial number, Family Name, and First Name. The tags were threaded together through a single hole onto a cord worn around the neck.

Malaysia

Malaysian Armed Forces have two identical oval tags with this information:
  • A 12-digit number
    National identification number
    A national identification number, national identity number, or national insurance number is used by the governments of many countries as a means of tracking their citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, government benefits, health care, and other...

     (The last digit is an odd number for a male soldier, while an even number is given for a female soldier.)
  • Service number
  • Full name
  • Blood type
    Blood type
    A blood type is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells . These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system...

  • Religion
  • Branch (e.g., TLDM
    Royal Malaysian Navy
    The Royal Malaysian Navy is the naval arm of Malaysian Armed Forces. All commissioned ships of the RMN have the prefix KD , which means Royal Ship.-Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve:...

    )


If more information needed, another two oval wrist tags are provided. The term wrist tags can be used to refer to the bracelet
Bracelet
A bracelet is an article of jewelry which is worn around the wrist. Bracelets can be manufactured from metal, leather, cloth, plastic or other materials and sometimes contain jewels, rocks, wood, and/or shells...

-like wristwatch. The additional tags only need to be worn on the wrist, with the main tags still on the neck. All personnel are allowed to attach a small religious pendant
Pendant
A pendant is a loose-hanging piece of jewellery, generally attached by a small loop to a necklace, when the ensemble may be known as a "pendant necklace". A pendant earring is an earring with a piece hanging down. In modern French "pendant" is the gerund form of “hanging”...

 or locket
Locket
A locket is a pendant that opens to reveal a space used for storing a photograph or other small item such as a curl of hair. Lockets are usually given to loved ones on holidays such as Valentine's Day and occasions such as Christenings, weddings and, most noticeably during the Victorian Age,...

; this makes a quick identifiable reference for their funeral services.

Mexico

The Ejército de Mexico uses a single long, rectangular metal tag with oval ends, embossed with Name, serial number, and blood type plus Rh factor.

Netherlands

Military of the Netherlands
Military of the Netherlands
The Armed forces of the Netherlands consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.The service branches consist of:* Koninklijke Landmacht , Royal Netherlands Army....

 identity tags, like the Canadian and Norwegian ones, are designed to be broken in two in case of a fatality; the lower end is returned to Dutch Defence Headquarters, while the upper half remains on the body. There is a difference in the Army and Airforce service number and the Navy service number:
  • Army number is made up of the date of birth in YY.MM.DD. format, for example 83.01.15, and a three-digit number, such as 123.
  • Navy number is made up out of random five- or six-digit numbers.


The tags contain the following information:
  • Upper half:
    • Name and family name
    • Service number
    • Nationality (NL) and religion
    • Blood group with RH
      Rhesus blood group system
      The Rh blood group system is one of thirty current human blood group systems. Clinically, it is the most important blood group system after ABO. At Present, the Rh blood group system consists of 50 defined blood-group antigens, among which the 5 antigens D, C, c, E, and e are the most important...

       factor

  • Lower half: identical.

Norway

Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 dog tags are designed to be broken in two like the Canadian version:
  • The top half contains the nationality, the eleven-digit birth number and the blood type.
  • The bottom half contains the nationality and birth number and has a hole so the broken-off half can be hung on a ring.

Poland

The first dog tags were issued in Poland following the order of the General Staff of December 12, 1920. The earliest design (dubbed kapala in Polish, more properly called "kapsel legitymacyjny" or "ID cap") consisted of a tin-made 30×50 mm rectangular frame and a rectangular cap fitting into the frame. Soldiers' details were filled in a small ID card placed inside the frame, as well as on the inside of the frame itself. The dog tag was similar to the tags used by the Austro-Hungarian Army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. In case the soldier died, the frame was left with his body, while the lid was returned to his unit together with a note on his death. The ID card was handed over to the chaplain or the rabbi.

In 1928, a new type of dog tag was proposed by gen. bryg. Stanisław Rouppert, Poland's representative at the International Red Cross. It was slightly modified and adopted in 1931 under the name of Nieśmiertelnik wz. 1931 (literally, Immortalizer mark 1931). The new design consisted of an oval piece of metal (ideally steel, but in most cases aluminium alloy was used), roughly 40 by 50 milimetres. There were two notches on both sides of the tag, as well as two rectangular holes in the middle to allow for easier breaking of the tag in two halves. The halves contained the same set of data and were identical, except the upper half had two holes for a string or twine to go through. The data stamped on the dog tag included:
  • Obverse
    • Name
    • Surname
    • Optionally: abbreviation of soldiers' religion (KAT for Roman Catholics, GR-KAT for Greek Catholics, PRAW for Orthodox, MOJ for Jewish, AUG for Lutherans, ANG for Anglicans and MAH for Muslims)
  • Reverse
    • Soldiers' ID card number and first letter of the powiat
      Powiat
      A powiat is the second-level unit of local government and administration in Poland, equivalent to a county, district or prefecture in other countries. The term powiat is most often translated into English as "county", although other terms are also sometimes used...

       the soldier came from
    • Name of the Recruitment Commission (usually name of the town or city the soldier was attached to)
    • Year of birth


Sometimes the rank of the soldier was added to the reverse, and most members of the medical corps had a tiny cross stamped near the string holes, regardless of their religion.

Rhodesia

The former Republic of Rhodesia used two WW2 British-style compressed asbestos fiber tags, a No. 1 octagonal (green) tag and a No. 2 circular (red) tag, stamped with identical information. The red tag was supposedly fireproof and the green tag rotproof. The following information was stamped on the tags: Number, Name, Initials, & Religion; Blood Type was stamped on reverse. The Air Force & BSAP often stamped their service on the reverse side above the blood group.

Many soldiers state they were issued blank tags and told to punch the information in themselves.

Singapore

The Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

-issued dog tags are inscribed (not embossed) with up to four items:
  • NRIC number
  • Blood type
  • Religion
  • Drug allergies (if any; inscribed on the reverse)


The dog tags consist of two metal pieces, one oval with two holes and one round with one hole. A synthetic lanyard is threaded through both holes in the oval piece and tied around the wearer's neck. The round piece is tied to the main loop on a shorter loop.

When a soldier is killed in action, the round piece is removed by cutting the short loop with a bayonet, while the oval piece remains with the body.

South Africa

The former South African Defense Force used two long, rectangular aluminum tags with oval ends, stamped with Serial Number, Name and Initials, and Religion.

South Korea

The South Korean army issues two long, rectangular tags with oval ends, stamped (in Korean letters) with "Ryuk Gun" ("Army") above personal number, with name below that and blood group at bottom.

Spain

Issues a single metal oval, worn vertically, stamped "ESPAÑA" above and below the 3-slot horizontal break line. It is stamped in 4 lines with:
  • 1st line - Religion
  • 2nd line - left side = blood group, right side = any medical allergies (SI or NO)
  • 3rd line - military service (ET, EA ...)
  • 4th (longest) line = DNI military number.

All information is repeated on the bottom half of the tag, which is to be broken off and returned to the unit in case of death or injury in combat.

Sweden

Swedish dog tags are designed to be able to break apart. The information on them is:
  • Personal identity number
    Personal identity number (Sweden)
    The personal identity number is the Swedish national identification number. When it was introduced in 1947 it was probably the first of its kind covering the total resident population of a country...

     (twice, once in the upper part and once below)
  • Full name
  • Place of birth
  • Blood type (only on some)


During the Cold War dog tags were issued to everyone, often soon after birth, since the threat of total war also meant the risk of severe civilian casualties. However in the late 90s the Swedish government decided that the dog tags were not needed any more, most probably because of the Cold War had ended.

The blood type is generally not stamped on the dog tags as it may change (rare) and that, in combat situations, they give standard blood (type 0) and, in hospitals, it is easier to check the blood than the tag.

Switzerland

Swiss Armed Forces ID tags are oval-shaped and are designed to be broken in two. In case of fatality, the tag will be completely removed. They contain the following information:
  • Social insurance number
  • Surname
  • First name
  • Date of birth in DD.MM.YY format

United Kingdom

The UK Armed Forces utilize two circular stainless steel tags embossed with the "Big 6": Blood Group; Service Number; Surname; Initials; 2-letter Religious code (e.g. CE for Church of England, RC for Catholic, OD for Other Denomination, etc.); & Force (e.g. RN, Army, or RAF). One tag is suspended 6 inches (152.4 mm) below main tag.

United States

US Armed Forces typically carry two identical oval tags containing:
U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 Format 1:
  • Surname, first name, middle initial
  • Social Security number, followed by "AF" indicating branch of service
  • Blood Group
  • "blank"
  • Religion

U.S. Air Force Format 2:
  • Surname
  • First name and middle initial
  • Social Security number, followed by "AF" indicating branch of service
  • Blood Group
  • Religion

U.S. Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

:
  • Surname
  • First and middle initials, blood group
  • Social Security number with no dashes and no spaces
  • Branch ("USMC"), Gas mask size (S-small, M-medium, L-large)
  • Religious preference , or medical allergy if red medical tag

U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

:
  • Surname, first name, middle initial
  • Social Security number with no dashes or spaces followed immediately by "USN", space, blood group
  • "blank"
  • Religion

U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

:
  • Surname
  • First name, middle initial
  • Social Security number
  • Blood type
  • Religion

U.S. Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

:
  • Surname, first name, middle initial
  • Social Security number, no dashes or spaces, followed immediately by branch (i.e., 123456789 USCG)
  • Blood group
  • "blank"
  • Religion


Recently, the U.S. Army stopped using the term dog tags, replacing it with ID tags.

A persistent rumor is that debossed (imprinted with stamped in letters) dog tags were issued from World War II till the end of the Vietnam War and that currently the U.S. military is issuing embossed (imprinted with raised letters) dog tags. In actuality, the U.S. military issues dog tags with both types of imprinting, depending on the machine used at a given facility. The military issued 95% of their identification tags up until recently (within the past 10 years) with debossed text.

Religious designation

During World War II, a dog tag could indicate only one of three religions through the inclusion of one letter: "P" for Protestant, "C" for Catholic, or "H" for Jewish (from the word, "Hebrew"), or (according to at least one source) "NO" to indicate no religious preference. Army regulations (606-5) soon included X and Y in addition to P,C, and H: the X indicating any religion not included in the first three, and the Y indicating either no religion or a choice not to list religion.
By the time of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, IDs spelled out the broad religious choices such as PROTESTANT and CATHOLIC, rather than using initials, and also began to show individual denominations such as "METHODIST" or "BAPTIST." Tags did vary by service, however, such as the use of "CATH," not "CATHOLIC" on some Navy tags. For those with no religious affiliation and those who chose not to list an affiliation, either the space for religion was left blank or the words "NO PREFERENCE" or "NO RELIGIOUS PREF" were included.

Ironically, although the ID tags include religion as a way of ensuring that religious needs will be met, some personnel have them reissued without religious affiliation listed -- or keep two sets, one with the designation and one without -- out of fear that identification as a member of a particular religion could increase the danger to their welfare or their lives if they fell into enemy hands. Some Jewish personnel avoided flying over German lines during WWII with ID tags that indicated their religion, and some Jewish personnel avoid the religious designation today out of concern that they could be captured by extremists who are anti-semitic. Additionally, when American troops were first sent to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 during the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

there were allegations that some U.S. military authorities were pressuring Jewish military personnel to avoid listing their religions on their ID tags.

US military ID tag ball chain specifications and lore

Standard US military dog tags are issued with one 2.5 mm, 24-inch neck chain and one 2.5 mm, 4-inch duplicate chain. The secondary chain and duplicate tag are recovered if needed. The primary chain and tag remain with the soldier at all times.

Ball chain may be upgraded to 3 mm diameter by individual soldiers. Chains smaller than 2.5 mm and larger than 3 mm are not generally authorized due to the risk of breakage/loss or inability to recover the duplicate tag from larger chains.

Dog tag ball chains were once thought to have been clipped to length to help captured soldiers count time in the event they were captured. The large chain was counted to 365 ball links, and the small chain was counted to 52 ball links. A soldier could then bite or break off one link from the large chain each day and remove one link from the small chain each week. This accounted for one year of time before the cycle consumed the chain completely. No verified comparison between the standard 24" and 4" chain lengths and number of "beads" per length has been performed. The typical length of 365/52 however, is adequate for mounting and wearing standard I.D. tags. This however is not true as a U.S. Air Force 210 bead chain is 27.5" long (which hangs in the middle of ones chest). A 365 bead chain is approximately 47.25", which hangs down too far on the average person.

Vietnam

The former Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) used two US-style ID tags, in either stainless steel or aluminum, stamped or inscribed with:
  • Name
  • SQ (So Quân, e.g., Service number) a 2-digit year number, followed by a military serial number
  • LM (loai máu, e.g., Blood Group, no rH factor)


Some tags added religion, e.g., Công Giáo for Catholic

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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