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How Military Dog Tags Serve a Crucial Role and Practical Guide on Usage

How Military Dog Tags Serve a Crucial Role and Practical Guide on Usage

The History

During times of war, military dog tags serve a crucial role in identifying soldiers who have been killed or wounded. Prior to the use of dog tags, soldiers received plastic printed identity cards that were prone to damage and deterioration in harsh weather conditions. However, military dog tags are built to be weather-proof and are created using a specialized dog tag embosser machine that was designed solely for this purpose. This machine produces tags using durable metal sheets, ensuring that they can withstand the harsh conditions of military life.

A pair of blank WorldWar2 notched tag with ball chain

As the name implies, the machine “embosses” the required details of the soldier onto the inserted metal sheet based on the provided details, which can last for a long time, with high resistance to wear and tear. 

Why Soldiers Have Two Dog Tags?

dog tag distribution

First of all, you must be wondering why dog tags are called ‘dog tags’. After all, they’re not being worn by dogs, right?

Well, the name actually came about because of the way military dog tags are designed which is very similar to how the tags that dogs wear around their collars.

Military dog tags used by soldiers usually come in pairs, and they’re worn around the neck for the following reasons:

  • Identification

Military dog tags are a crucial tool for properly identifying soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in battle. In situations where a soldier's body is destroyed beyond recognition, such as from a bomb explosion, the information contained on their military dog tags is often the only means of accurately identifying them. As such, these tags play a vital role in ensuring that fallen soldiers are given the proper recognition and honor that they deserve.

Conversely, military departments are able to promptly notify the families of fallen or injured soldiers using the information on their dog tags. Additionally, the details on the tags, such as the soldier's blood type, can be critical in providing necessary medical treatment to severely injured soldiers, potentially saving their lives.

  • Breakaway

Each soldier is issued two military dog tags, with the second tag intended for use in situations where the soldier is unable to communicate important information for themselves. To facilitate this, the tags are designed to be easily separated from each other as needed.

  • Locations

Typically, soldiers are issued dog tags that are worn around the neck on a chain. The use of the second tag varies depending on the soldier's circumstances and location. For instance, in certain situations, soldiers may be authorized to wear their tags in their boots, or to insulate them with rubber to avoid making noise in potentially hazardous environments.

  • Requirements

According to the U.S. Army's regulations, soldiers are required to wear their military dog tags at all times during air transit, operations, and while traveling abroad. This rule is strictly enforced and must be adhered to by soldiers at all times.

Different Uses

Dog tags have become increasingly commonplace in modern society, serving a variety of purposes beyond their original use in the military. In the medical industry, for example, dog tags are utilized to record vital patient information, including medical history, blood type, allergies, and more.

In addition, some businesses in the corporate sector have adopted the use of dog tags as a marketing tool, offering personalized tags with the company's name and logo on the opposite side.