Alice Kono's WAC Dog Tags


These dog tags belonged to AliceTetsuko Kono when she served in the Women's Army Corps ( WAC).

Dog tags are a term commonly used for the identification tags worn by military personnel; they are primarily used for the identification of injured or dead soldiers.

Kono was born on the island of Lana'i, Hawai'i to Japanese immigrant parents. Kono was a Military Intelligence Service Linguist and trained at the Military Intelligence Language School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. She served from 1944 - 1946.

Alice Tetsuko Kono was one of fewer than 500 Japanese American women who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Trained as a Military Intelligence Service Linguist, she worked translating captured documents sent from the Pacific as part of the “air section,” reviewing and translating materials related to planes and arial intelligence, while stationed at Fort Richie, Maryland.

The United States declared war on Japan after the December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i'. At this time, women were not allowed to serve in the United States military, and Japanese Americans were classified as "enemy aliens" and ineligible for military service. In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the formation of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Later that year, the WAC opened enlistment to Japanese American women. WACs were the first women to serve in the Army as specialists other than nurses. Women fought many issues in the WAC, such as a slander campaign on the home front that called the WACs "sexually immoral.” Many soldiers opposed allowing women in uniform, some stating that their masculinity would be devalued. Despite the backlash and resistance, General Douglas MacArthur called the WACs his best soldiers, stating they worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined. General Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that their contributions were immeasurable.

Alice Tetsuko Kono died on March 27, 2014, at the age of 90.

Location: Currently not on view

Web Subject: World War II


See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American, Executive Order 9066


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: gift of Alice Kono

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2016.0219.04Catalog Number: 2016.0219.04Accession Number: 2016.0219

Object Name: identification tag

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 1 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in x 1/8 in; 3.175 cm x 5.715 cm x .3175 cm


Record Id: nmah_1814289

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