Identification Tag and Cover

Physical Description
Metal tag imprinted "Mary A. Millian" on a chain. Green yarn crocheted cover.
General History
The idea of identifying a soldier in case of injury or death during combat dates back to the Civil War, when soldiers pinned paper notes to their clothing as identification. Metal identification tags, or "dog tags" as they are popularly known, have their origins in World War I. By 1913 the United States Army made ID tags mandatory. During World War II each soldier was given two dog tags, a short chain and a long chain. The purpose of the different lengths of chain was to keep the two tags separate, so as not to make noise in the field. The smaller chain was also used for purposes of body identification in case of death.
Currently not on view
Physical Description
aluminum (overall material)
fabric (cover material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 2 in x 1/16 in; 2.8575 cm x 5.08 cm x .15875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Lieutenant Colonel Mary A. Millian, USAF (Ret.)
related event
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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