General Order Number 21, Section VI, Headquarters, American Expeditionary Force in France (33 August 1917) authorized square tags.This order was amended on 1 February 1918 by General Order Number 30, paragraph IV, 7n, which provided that: This was the same time when Army serial numbers were assigned to the Marines in France. an aluminum Identification Tag, the size of a silver Half Dollar, stamped with the name, rank, company, regiment, or corps of the wearer; it will be worn by each Officer and Enlisted Man of the Army whenever the field kit is worn; it will be suspended from the neck, underneath the clothing by means of a cord or thong passed through a small hole in the Tag; it is further described as being part of the uniform…” This Identification Tag will be issued by the Quartermaster Corps, gratuitously to Enlisted Men ant at the cost price to the Officers.The “sole” purpose for wearing “Dog Tags” was to enable positive identification of a casualty or remains, and to make a difference both for the families and the authorities, should the person end up as being ‘known but to God!Soldiers have used variations of dog tags and similar means of identification for hundreds of years.They were first used by US service members in the Civil War, when soldiers would scratch their names and hometowns on the backs of their belt buckles or other gear.Early types were manufactured in Monel and had a capacity for 5 lines of text, providing 18 spaces per line (ref. The official Dog Tag required the following information: Name, Service Number, Date of Tetanus Inoculation, Blood Type, Person to Notify, Religion. 34-18, dated 15 February 1939 called for production of a thin metal copper-nickel alloy identification tag (i.e. Because of the high content of copper, Monel Dog Tags had a yellow/brass color (due to wartime shortages, nickel-copper was sometimes used, whereby Monel tags looked more like ‘silver/white’ metal in lieu of yellow). As early as 1941 AR indicated that any member of the US Army was to wear the Identification Tags when in the field or on garrison duty.On 29 December 1942, the overall texts were amended to include that every soldier was to wear his Identification Tags even when dressed in civilian clothes (during passes or furloughs).
In life, and in death, people want to be identified and remembered.
It appears they were worn by some on a purely personal basis.
We even had the potential for a civilian "Dog Tag" back in the FDR administration.
TAG 2” X 1 1/8” official dimensions: 2 inches (long) x 1 1/8 inches (wide) x 0.025 inches (thick).
Rectangular form with notch at left (to position tag on the embossing machine) small rolled outer edges, and a single hole (dia 1/8″) for the necklace.