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DOG TAGS

Dog Tags: There are numerous styles and subtle changes made to dog tags from WWII through Vietnam. In this section, we will attempt to show the "most common" style for different time periods. The main difference is the use of a "notched" tag or of a "regular" tag. The notched were used from WWII until about 1964 when the regular tag was adopted. All tags are based on 5 lines of information with a maximum of 17 characters / spaces per line.

WWII - Notched

In WWII, the Army Service Number consisted of 8 digits based on status and geographic location. Also of importance is the fact that there is no Rhesus factor on the blood type ( + or - ) as this technology did not exist at the time. For religious preference, the tags were marked C (Catholic), P (Protestant), H (Hebrew) or left blank for no preference.

WWII Style 1 (November 1941 to July 1943)

First Name, MI, Last Name JOHN D SMITH
Army Serial #, tetanus dates, blood type 12345678 T42 43 A
Next of Kin JANE SMITH
Street Address for Next of Kin 3456 ANY STREET
City & State and Religious Preference ANYTOWN, TX   P

WWII Style 2 (July 1943 to March 1944)

First Name, MI, Last Name JOHN D SMITH
Army Serial #, tetanus dates, blood type 12345678 T43 44     A
Blank
Blank
Religious Preference                                   P

WWII Style 3 (March 1944 to April 1946)

Last Name, First Name, MI SMITH, JOHN D
Army Serial #, Tetanus Dates, Blood Type 12345678 T43 44    A
Blank  
Blank  
Religious Preference                                   P

KOREAN WAR - Notched

During the Korean War, there are several variations for tags, but the one below is the most commonly seen. The Army began using the Service Number Prefixes: RA (Regular Army, volunteer enlisted), US (an enlisted draftee), NG (National Guard), ER (Enlisted Reserve), O (Officer) followed by an eight digit service number. Also of importance is the fact that there is no Rhesus factor on the blood type ( + or - ) as this technology did not exist at the time. For religious preference, the tags were marked C (Catholic), P (Protestant), H (Hebrew) or left blank for no preference.

Korean War Army Style 1

Last Name, First Name, MI SMITH, JOHN D
Service Pre-Fix, Army Service Number US12345678
Tetanus Date, Blood Type T-52                   A
Religious Preference                            P
Blank                        

Korean War Navy Style 1

Last Name, First Name, MI SMITH, JOHN D
Service Number, Blood Type 12345678          A
Blank              
Blank                  
USN, Religious Preference USN                   P                 

Vietnam

Vietnam-Era US Army Dog Tags, the Army Service Number was 8 digits and had one of the following prefixes: RA (Regular Army, volunteer enlisted), US (an enlisted draftee), NG (National Guard), ER (Enlisted Reserve), O (Officer). When using draftee designation "US", the first number is either a 5 or a 6. 6 was considered a bad number as it was reserved for the "Project 100,000". The second number is the "Army Area" the draftee was from. 1 or 2 indicated Northeast (after the 2nd Army was absorbed by the 1st Army in the 50's), 3 South, 4 Southwest, 5 Mid-West, 6 California, Pacific Coast, Hawaii, Alaska. 0 indicated outside the US such as Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, or America Samoa. Of interest, is that US67 numbers indicated one of McNamara's Project 100,000 draftees who had failed the Armed Forces minimal IQ test, but were drafted anyway to meet the manpower needs.

The Army used the Army Serial Number exclusively until the end of 1967 when the use of Social Security Numbers (9 digits) was introduced. From this time until June 1969, many dog tags used both numbers. After this date the Social Security Number was used exclusively. For Vietnam Era tags, you also see the use of the "broad" religions such as Catholic, Protestant, Hebrew fully spelled out as opposed to the first letter on WWII tags. You also see many tags with specific main stream denominations such as Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. During this time, if you have no religious preference, the tags are typically stamped "NO PREFERENCE" or left blank.

*Special Thanks to Brad LaGrange and Lee Russel for providing the above information on service numbers.

Vietnam-Era USMC Dog Tags
, there seems to be many variations that are not as "straight forward" as Army tags. The last name is on the first line and the second line either has both of your initials, or your first name and middle initial. For the third line, the Marines used service numbers which could be 5, 6, or 7 digits. Fourth line is USMC followed by gas mask size. The sizes are XS,S,M,L,XL. Fifth line for religion is fully spelled out such as Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Hebrew, etc.

VN US ARMY Style 1 (Up to 1967) *notched available for early (pre-65) tags

Last Name SMITH
First Name, MI JOHN D
Service Pre-Fix, Army Service Number RA12345678
Blood Type A POS
Religious Preference PROTESTANT

VN US ARMY Style 2 (Late 1967 to June 1969)

Last Name SMITH
First Name, MI JOHN D
Service Pre-Fix, Army Service Number RA12345678
Blood Type, Social Security Number APOS 123-45-6789
Religious Preference PROTESTANT

 VN US ARMY Style 3 (June 1969 to current)

Last Name SMITH
First Name, MI JOHN D
Social Security Number 123-45-6789
Blood Type A POS
Religious Preference PROTESTANT

VN USMC Style (Marines)

Last Name SMITH
First Name MI or First Initial & Middle Initial JOHN D   or   J.D.
Service Number, Blood Type 1234567  APOS
USMC followed by Gas Mask Size USMC M
Religious Preference PROTESTANT

VN USN Style (Navy)

Last Name SMITH
First Initial & Middle Initial,   Blood Type J.D.   A POS
Pre-fix & Service Number or Social Security B123456   or 123 45 6789
USN USN
Religious Preference PROTESTANT