During the Civil War, the inability of the military to identify battlefield casualties created the need for a soldier identification method.
According to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Foundation, prior to the Battle of Mine Run in northern Virginia 1863, Gen. George Meade's troops wrote their names and unit designations on paper tags and pinned them to their clothing. At the same time, other soldiers created prototype identification tags out of pieces of wood, perforating one end so that they could be worn on a string around their necks.
Between 1862 and 1913, while the military considered a number of options for identifying soldier remains on the battlefield, individual soldiers continued to utilize makeshift identification methods. In 1906, a circular aluminum disc was presented. By 1913, identification tags were made mandatory by the military.
The circular tags, handstamped with name, rank, serial number, unit, and religion were used during World War I.
Dog tags, name tapes and memorabilia are displayed at the top of Mount Suribachi in Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, Japan, Dec. 17, 2014.
By World War I, soldiers wore two tags. “One tag remained with the body, tied around the legs or ankles or feet,” Luther Hanson, curator at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum, told The New York Times in a 2013 interview.
Around World War II, the circular tag was replaced by the more oval shape used by the military today. Its resemblance to dog collar tags led to the designation of “dog tag.” The tags used during World War II were stamped by a machine and had a rectangular shape with round ends and a notch on one side.
A gruesome rumor circulated that the notch was put in the tag so that the tag could be placed in a dead soldier’s mouth hold it open to prevent the body from gaseous bloating. However, the real reason for the notch was that the stamping machine required it to hold the tag in place during embossing.
The point of the tag ultimately is to be left around the neck of a casualty, staying with the remains at all times.
According the Library of Congress, during the Vietnam War, “changes were made to the information on dog tags.The dog tags went from the earlier eight digits with their prefix to the current nine-day digit Social Security number. You could have both stamped on your tag if you wanted; but, from this point on, the Social Security number was the main identifying number.”
Additionally, tags worn by the Marine Corps had a variety of additions including the size of their gas mask. A number of religions were added and full names were spelled out as well.
Current dog tags still utilize a two-tag system, with one on a long a chain around the neck and one interlinked by a smaller chain. The point of this method is to have one that remains around the neck and another for the toe for the coroner’s purposes.
Though the dog tag has remained largely unchanged since the Vietnam War, the Army is currently developing and testing several new dog tags known by various names including the soldier data tag, individually carried record, meditag, and the personal information carrier.
The new dog tags will contain microchip or USB technology, which will hold a soldier’s medical and dental records, reported The New York Times.
Up to 1,000 U.S. troops could remain in Syria — more than twice as many as originally announced, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Donald Trump initially announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but U.S. officials said in February that several hundred troops are expected to remain in Syria to create a "safe zone" along the border with Turkey and to man the al-Tanf garrison, which is located along a supply rote that would allow Iran to supply its proxies in Syria.
On Sunday, Dion Nissenbaum and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. military is considering leaving as many as 1,000 troops in Syria to prevent Turkey from attacking the United States' Kurdish allies. So far, the United States and Turkey have failed to agree on how to secure the proposed safe zone.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
White supremacists take part in a march the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. (Associated Press photo)
Seven U.S. service members have reportedly been identified as members of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group founded by a Marine veteran and tied to the 2017 Charlottesville rally, according to leaked online chat logs examined by HuffPost.
Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 17, 2019 (Reuters)
BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - Falling bombs raised smoke over Islamic State's last enclave in east Syria on Sunday, obscuring the huddle of vehicles and makeshift shelters to which the group's self-declared "caliphate" has been reduced.