Interesting Post about Tooth Notch

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CigarJoe
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Interesting Post about Tooth Notch

Postby CigarJoe » Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:02 am

Here is a theads from other forums about the tooth notch and dog tags in general.

This is kind of interesting.


From: charles krin (ckrin@iamerica.net)
Subject: Re: WEAR MY DOG TAGS WITH PRIDE
"Mike P" <res1yj7x@verizon.net>

Got my first pair in 1967, and still have them hanging on the wall. When did they put in the little nick in them. Do you remember why? When did they start making people in combat put one on their shoe lace, and one around their neck? What other dog tag came in a different color? Who collected the unused dog tags in the Unit and why?

Mike

The little nick in the edge dates back to when they still used pine
boxes to ship the remains home...there was a nail already started in
the face of the box...slip the nick onto the nail, one tap and the tag
stays in place for the other nails...as far as dates, by 1979, the
tags no longer had them.

The split of the tags was around 1965, due to the improved nature of
the Claymore type mines...by having the boots tagged, there was a
better chance of having identifiable remains...

the red dog tags list allergies...

and the clerk is supposed to keep at least one set of dog tags in your
POR file...

ck
country doc in louisiana



Many People firmly believe that the notch was for affixing the tag to the coffin or remains . . .

From: MAVERICK (atlantico1999@hotmail.com)
Subject: WWII DOG TAGS

I bought a set of WWII dog tags from:

http://www.dogtagsrus.com

They (the tags) are very useful in case of an emergency when you are traveling:

bloodtype, my allergies, phone number in case of emergency, etc. Does
anybody know what is for the notched edge?.

Thanks, greetings.


From: Tekawiz (tekawiz@aol.com)
Subject: Re: WWII DOG TAGS

The notched edge was created during the process of making the dog tags.


This is incorrect, the notch was designed into the tag and was not a process of manufacture.

From: Ron Rodriguez (rod57572@bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: WWII DOG TAGS

Actually the notch in the old dog tags was to hold it in the embossing
machine. Current tags have not notch because a different type of embossing machine is used.

Hooah!


This is also incorrect, the tag did not need to be "held" in place on the embossing machine. In fact originally tags were debossed only. Notched tag plates (blanks) were designed for debossing only. The Addressograph Graphotype uses jaws to hold the tags in place while imprinting.

From: Charles Digman (cdigman@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: WWII DOG TAGS

"The notch on one end, according to Robert Fisch (Curator, West Point
Military Museum), was used for wedging into the top front teeth to hold the
mouth open when dead. This allowed any gasses to escape from the mouth and stopped the body from bloating after death. "


This is just gross - If you have ever shot a dead bloated cow, you would understand why you would NOT want to vent any bodily gasses.

From: Gary Whisenhunt (cgwhiz@bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: WWII DOG TAGS

Always heard the part about wedging the notch in the front teeth was an old wives tale, in any event, we have where I work ,an old "Graphatype" machine used to make metal tags for equipment marking, it was made in the 40's and is the same machine used by the military in that era to stamp out Dogtags.

The notch in the tags hold the tag in alignment as they are stamped, the machine really is amazing to see it working, looks like a typewriter on steriods, has an incredible number of gears, cams, belts, LOTS of moving parts and when it strikes the tag, it hits it like a sledgehammer. thus the need for the notch to hold it in place. The thing works like a champ, even after 60 or so years, just needs a squirt of WD40 every so often !!


Sorry for an Addressograph Graphotype operator to make such a statement - shame on you - maybe it has been a long time since you actually used the machine. Once again, the notch is not for aligment in the Graphotype.

From: BAM (dbkennahoser@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: WWII DOG TAGS

According to the US Army Quartermaster Museum, the dog tag notch was used to hold the tag in place for the embossing machine. See:

http://www.qmfound.com/short_history_of_identification_tags.htm

"(S)ome myths have arisen in connection with the purpose of the
identification tags. One of the more common myths involves the reason for
the notch on the tag issued between 1941 and the early 1970's. Battlefield
rumor held that the notched end of the tag was placed between the front
teeth of battlefield casualties to hold the jaws in place.

No official record of American soldiers being issued these instructions exists; the only purpose of "the notch" was to hold the blank tag in place on the embossing machine. The machine used at this time doesn't require a notch to hold he blank in place, hence, today's tags are smooth on all sides."

Bam Bam


This statement is getting closer to the truth.

From: William Hamblen (wrhamblen@comcast.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

On Sun, 5 Sep 2004 01:25:04 -0700, "TinCanMan" <TinCanman@nowhere.nul>
wrote:

One of the more common myths involves the reason for the notch on the tag issued between 1941 and the early 1970's. Battlefield rumor held that the notched end of the tag was placed between the front teeth of battlefield casualties to hold the jaws in place. No official record of American soldiers being issued these instructions exists; the only purpose of "the notch" was to hold the blank tag in place on the embossing machine. The machine used at this time doesn't require a notch to hold the blank in place, hence, today's tags are smooth on all sides.

Go here: http://www.snopes.com/military/notch.asp

Addressograph made the civilian version of the embosser, and probably
the military version as well, as the civilian Addressograph plate
looks very much like a dog tag. The civilian plate had a positioning
notch. The addressograph embossing machine I used 35 years ago was of
the powered variety: a heavy cast steel frame monster. They also made
an "armstrong" version where you pulled a lever to emboss the plate.


This is interesting, except it is wrong . . . Addressograph NEVER made a official military version of the Graphotype, all versions were "civilian" versions. The military adopted the Graphotype as is and procured it for military use. The machines were COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf).

From: JustMe (JustMe@NOYB.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I didn't know they made a hand powered model. We're still using the big
black cast iron sucker where I work. I used to repair them 15 years ago but now I just see them when I go out to the shops. They had already ceased to support them back then but we got spares from dealers with a stockpile. Don't know what they're doing today. I see at least one in use but it isn't a production machine. I still have a box of blanks. Each of my dogs has one on their collar. Ain't that a hoot?


CAST IRON - this man knows what he is talking about. NO support, again give this man a cigar.

From: Fred J. McCall (fmccall@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

"TinCanMan" <TinCanman@nowhere.nul> wrote:

:"Fred J. McCall" <fmccall@earthlink.net> wrote in message
:news:7b7lj0pg25n0rpdbgs3m6ptlmgibi4u9nc@4ax.com...
:>
:> Close, but not quite. The way it was intended to work was that the
:> tag on the short chain was collected for reporting. The 'notch' in
:> the other tag was to be placed between the two upper front teeth and
:> kicked so as to embed the tag into the upper jaw bone, thereby making
:> sure that it stayed with the skull.
:
:That's not what Snopes says. They claim they got this from Mortuary Affairs:
:
: One of the more common myths involves the reason for the notch on the tag
:issued between 1941 and the early 1970's. Battlefield rumor held that the
:notched end of the tag was placed between the front teeth of battlefield
:casualties to hold the jaws in place. No official record of American
:soldiers being issued these instructions exists;

That's interesting, since I seem to recall being instructed (couldn't
tell you what the 'official record' reflected) that this was precisely
how they were intended to be used and why there were two of them.

--
"You keep talking about slaying like it's a job. It's not.
It's who you are."
-- Kendra, the Vampire Slayer



From: JustMe (JustMe@NOYB.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

:> Close, but not quite. The way it was intended to work was that the
:> tag on the short chain was collected for reporting. The 'notch' in
:> the other tag was to be placed between the two upper front teeth and
:> kicked so as to embed the tag into the upper jaw bone, thereby making
:> sure that it stayed with the skull.

I'd heard that rumor off and on for 20 years. Some folks believed it, others didn't. I never knew what to think. I've been retired for 25 years now and I still see it pop up in various newsgroups, forums and web sites. That listing has been on Snopes a long time. Glad they checked it out


You GO Snopes . . .

From: Victor Smith (victorfsmith@earthlink.com)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

My dogtags, issued in Jan, 1964, didn't have a notch, but had

Smith Victor F
774-72-82 USN AB
Prot

Only reason I know is that is one of my kids is wearing the one
remaining tag. He's a civilian. Civilian kids seem to like wearing
them, as he's not the first of mine to do it, but will probably be
the first to lose it.

--Vic


Well if he looses it DogTagsRus will make you a new one.

From: Fred J. McCall (fmccall@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

That seems pretty odd, give that pretty much every other dog tag of
that vintage certainly seems to have had one. I've seen civilian
copies of military dog tags that didn't have that notch, but I can't
say that I've ever seen a military issue tag that didn't have it,
right up to the point where they went to the new style that you can
put 'silencers' around.

[We used to just wrap ours with electrical tape or not wear them at
all.]

--
"This is a war of the unknown warriors; but let all strive
without failing in faith or in duty...."

-- Winston Churchill


Duck Tape still used, my wife taped hers during her tour in Desert Storm - she was aviation.

From: Victor Smith (victorfsmith@earthlink.com)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

Jamming a jaw on a notched dogtag is a f***ing stupid concept
from the getgo, worthy of myth only. That's just how it is.

My dogtags, issued in Jan, 1964, didn't have a notch, but had

Smith Victor F
774-72-82 USN AB



I will take your word on this one.

From: Arved Sandstrom (asandstrom@accesswave.ca)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I'm pretty sure that tags and the machines both are items that will be
retained as long as they work to achieve the goal. At any given time I'll
bet there was a blend of tag styles, whether or not the lettering was raised
or otherwise, what the machines were like etc. I know in my last battery we had a manual machine, and we did un-notched tags with embossed lettering.

Apparently by then many military units were doing tags with raised lettering with different machines. So I think it's impossible to say based on what kind of tag you have what era it was issued.

I could've sworn we were, Fred. In fact we financed most of the French
effort, and that ended in 1954. There were US advisors on the ground in
Indochina starting in 1950. Significant numbers of advisors didn't get
dispatched to RVN until 1961, but I think you could say we were involved in
1959.

AHS


YES, finally someone mentions the fact that tags changed and embossed tag have arrived on the scene. Embossed tags did not come to pass until after Vietnam.

From: Lise Michaels (arilysnc@yahoo.com)
Subject: information on USN dog tags over the years

Hi, I've been trying to research something for the last few days-- but
none of the various web sites I've encountered seem to address the
specific thing I am looking for.

I'm looking for some resource that gives detailed examples of how USN
"dog tags" have looked over the years (specifically the 1937-present
time frame).

For instance, I've had some conflicting data about how "religious
preference" is noted (as an example, "CATHOLIC" or "CATH" or just a
"C")

Most all the data I've seen on some web sites just give glancing
information.

This might seem sort of a trivial item to research...but I was making
up a display case with "duplicate dog tags" for my great-grandfather,
grandfather, father, and two of my brothers, who were all in the
service in the time frame I noted. Thought it would be a nice tough
to make it VERY authentic!


We are working on that type of data

From: TinCanMan (TinCanman@nowhere.nul)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I don't know if there is an "official" format. There may be. There's a Mil
Spec for just about everything, why not this? I just don't know about it.
Dogtags were produced on a machine made by Address-o-graph which stamped the letters. It was a manual process. They varied, depending on the skill of the operator. Various large commands afloat and ashore had the capability of producing them. All they needed was an Address-o-graph and a box of blanks available in the supply system.

Mine is formated thusly:

JONES J.G.
1234567 USN A
PROT

Since it has a 7 digit number, it's a Service Number as opposed to a 9 digit
SSN. That means it was produced before 1973 which is approximately the time the navy shifted from S/N to SSN. I'm not catholic, but the PROT
(Protestant) on mine would imply 4 character abbv. Well, at least in this
case.


Sorry not and Address-O-Graph, but Addressograph Graphotype.

From: TinCanMan (TinCanman@nowhere.nul)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

OK, just got the wayback box out and found my original issue from boot camp at Glakes (Jan 1960). It's formatted thusly:

JONES JOHN G

123 45 67 USN A

PROT

Note the spaces in the S/N and the spaces between lines. The "A" after USN is the blood type.

So, I guess to answer your question; If there exist a standard, some are not following it.


There are published standards, but many times mistakes were made and unless the serial number or social security number was wrong, all other mistakes were left in place - no time to make new tags, the numbers were all that mattered. This did not mean that you could not have them remade at a later date, of which many did

From: CWLee (cdubyalee@post.harvard.edu)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

As I went through one of the many lines of processing, in
the early 1950s, I was asked if I was Catholic. I said no,
and P was then stamped into my newly prepared dog tags. I'm
sure it was not official policy, but the guy behind the
counter divided the world into two types of people -
Catholics and "other" which was designated by a P in his
system. (I was told, a few days later, that there was a
third category, J. In those days I don't think even the
most forceful Jewish recruit would have spoken up.)

Related comment. In those days our dog tags had a notch at
one end. We were told that when we were found dead one dog
tag would be stuck in our teeth, and the mouth forced shut
so the dog tag was lodged inside for later identification,
and other dog tag was used for report purposes. Anyone able
to verify/refute that story?


This story is refuted !

From: J.T. McDaniel (jtmcdaniel@REMOVETHIScomcast.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

The notch was there, to be sure. It was just used
to align the blank tag in the machine, though.
Nothing sinister about it.
--
Jack
http://jtmcdaniel.com


I will give partial credit for at least not saying the notch was a tooth notch.

From: J.T. McDaniel (jtmcdaniel@REMOVETHIScomcast.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

Er, correction. It was to align the completed
tag in the machine so it could be used like an
old-fashioned credit card to copy the information
onto medical records if someone was wounded.
--
Jack
http://jtmcdaniel.com


OK, now I will give 100% credit.

From: Fred J. McCall (fmccall@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

"CWLee" <cdubyalee@post.harvard.edu> wrote:

:Related comment. In those days our dog tags had a notch at
:one end. We were told that when we were found dead one dog
:tag would be stuck in our teeth, and the mouth forced shut
:so the dog tag was lodged inside for later identification,
:and other dog tag was used for report purposes. Anyone able
:to verify/refute that story?

Close, but not quite. The way it was intended to work was that the
tag on the short chain was collected for reporting. The 'notch' in
the other tag was to be placed between the two upper front teeth and
kicked so as to embed the tag into the upper jaw bone, thereby making
sure that it stayed with the skull.

--
"I thought dying for your country was the worst thing that could
happen to you. I think killing for your country can be a lot
worse. Because that's the memory that haunts."
-- Senator Bob Kerrey


Hummmm. . .

From: TinCanMan (TinCanman@nowhere.nul)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

That's not what Snopes says. They claim they got this from Mortuary Affairs:

One of the more common myths involves the reason for the notch on the tag issued between 1941 and the early 1970's. Battlefield rumor held that the notched end of the tag was placed between the front teeth of battlefield casualties to hold the jaws in place. No official record of American soldiers being issued these instructions exists; the only purpose of "the notch" was to hold the blank tag in place on the embossing machine. The machine used at this time doesn't require a notch to hold the blank in place, hence, today's tags are smooth on all sides.

NOTCH STORY


From: Arved Sandstrom (asandstrom@accesswave.ca)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I can't imagine any soldier actually being able to do that anyway, to a dead buddy. The last thing I'm going to do is ram a dog tag in between his teeth.

AHS


Thank Goodness - someone with a brain, I want this man in the foxhole next to me.

From: Fred J. McCall (fmccall@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

:> Apparently not, given my experience, my father's experience, and my
:> brother's experience. All our dogtags had the notch. That would be a
:> set from the Army, a set from the Navy, and a set from the Air Force.
:> I'll leave you to figure out the implications.

I'm pretty sure that tags and the machines both are items that will be
retained as long as they work to achieve the goal. At any given time I'll
bet there was a blend of tag styles, whether or not the lettering was raised or otherwise, what the machines were like etc. I know in my last battery we had a manual machine, and we did un-notched tags with embossed lettering.

Apparently by then many military units were doing tags with raised lettering :with different machines. So I think it's impossible to say based on what kind of tag you have what era it was issued.

So, if we take those two sets of claims together, we should come to
the conclusion that we were involved in the Vietnam War by 1959?

I could've sworn we were, Fred. In fact we financed most of the French
effort, and that ended in 1954. There were US advisors on the ground in
Indochina starting in 1950. Significant numbers of advisors didn't get
dispatched to RVN until 1961, but I think you could say we were involved in 1959.

But you can't just fuzz over the dates based on that, Arved. The
phrase "During the Vietnam War" has a specific meaning. Putting money
in and supporting the French is not it.

The two sources are, as the person posting them originally noted,
inconsistent with each other. They are also both fairly inconsistent
with all the dog tags I personally observed through the 1970s.

--
"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar
territory."
--G. Behn


From: Arved Sandstrom (asandstrom@accesswave.ca)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

How you wear your tags is pretty much subject to the regulations of your
local command. We didn't get issued silencers, nor use tape - having a
single tag hanging around your neck is silent, and threading the other tag
onto a boot lace on one of the boots you're wearing, without the chain, was also silent.

That Snopes article seems pretty well researched to me, and reasonable.
Considering that the article refers to a short history of ID tags by a
Graves Registration officer, I tend to believe it. In any case, it would
have been a ridiculous instruction - a dog tag hanging around the neck of a corpse is not going anywhere.

I seem to recall that BS about 365 balls on the longer chain, and 52 on the
shorter one, too - in order to save my eyes, I was not going to count the
number of them on one of my longer chains, but on one of the short ones it was more like 41 or 42. So rumours abound, in the military just as in
civilian life, and after a while you can even convince yourself that they
were instructions.

AHS


The 365 balls and 52 balls on the chain is NOT correct. This is a urban legend.

From: Fred J. McCall (fmccall@earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

Well, we didn't generally use tape on them, either, although I knew of
people who did. We just put them in an envelope and left them back at
camp when we went out. We did tend to use a lot of tape on buckles on
various bits of 782 gear. Some of that stuff tended to make noise,
too.

:and threading the other tag onto a boot lace on one of the boots you're wearing, without the chain, was also silent.

The last thing I wanted was something shiny on the outside, like a dog
tag on my boot.

:That Snopes article seems pretty well researched to me, and reasonable.
:Considering that the article refers to a short history of ID tags by a
:Graves Registration officer, I tend to believe it.

Oh, I tend to believe it, too. My experience, however, is different.

:In any case, it would have been a ridiculous instruction - a dog tag hanging around the neck of a corpse is not going anywhere.

You're assuming that the corpse stays undisturbed and gets recovered
fairly soon. The head tends to come loose as the corpse decomposes or
if someone does something like, say, walking artillery through the
field.

"I seem to recall that BS about 365 balls on the longer chain, and 52 on the shorter one, too"

Never heard of that one. What was the point supposed to be?

--
"Rule Number One for Slayers - Don't die."
-- Buffy, the Vampire Slayer



From: Arved Sandstrom (asandstrom@accesswave.ca)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

Yes, we used electrical tape on various stuff. We really did strive for
equipment conditions such that when people jumped up and down during a
patrol check, you'd have very little noise.

Boot polish on the tag. Field boots we never glossed up, but we had shoe
polish along to try to maintain the leather. Not everyone would have the
stuff along - it would be shared out.

Well, sure...I mean, some people are going to get so blown up that it's
going to be difficult to associate a tag with those assorted teeth twenty
yards away, and half a torso ten yards in the other direction. But I think
that's uncommon. If I were graves registration (now mortuary affairs) I'd
draw a reasonable conclusion if I found a tag a couple of inches in between the vertebrae of the upper back and the skull which has detached and has shifted away some.


Tags in Boots, yes it is done

From: Brad Meyer (bradm110@juno.com)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years
Mine is

JONES JOHN G

A12 34 56 USN

A POS

JEWISH

was issued in '67. The service # started with a letter followed by
six numbers.


Some tags had the numbers spread out, some had them run all together, there was no specification on the format of the numbers.

From: Brad Meyer (bradm110@juno.com)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I'm pretty sure it was either very late '68 or early '69. I remember
where I was at the time and it was a pretty short school across that
timeframe. OTOH, '73 may have been the final cutoff or something like
that.

>I'm not catholic, but the PROT
>(Protestant) on mine would imply 4 character abbv. Well, at least in this
>case.

Mine had JEWISH. I suspect just having JEW wouldn't have sat too well.


JEW was not an option - this was not accepted

From: J.T. McDaniel (jtmcdaniel@REMOVETHIScomcast.net)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

I went into the Army in late '67 and was issued a
standard RA service number. I got out in '70 with a
SSAN. Given a reason, I can still rattle off both
from memory. I think the late '68 early '69 period
is about right for the conversion.

Given that the switch was, IIRC, a DoD thing, I
suspect all the services did it at the same time. Given
the problems with ID theft these days, I have to
wonder if it might not be a good idea to go back
to a service number, maybe linking the SSAN only
in pay records, where you'd need it in any case.

There was, by the way, at least one period where
Jewish dogtags were marked HEBREW, since that was
considered less likely to offend than JEW and
generally classier than JEWISH. (Sort of like the
way we wound up with HUC and the UAHC. I
read recently that Jews' College in London has
changed its name to something else, too.)
--
Jack
http://jtmcdaniel.com


From: TinCanMan (TinCanman@nowhere.nul)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

Despite the fact it may have been a DOD thing, I don't believe it was
consistant across the branches or even between commands within a branch. I have my original and complete personnel and medical records spanning the years 1960 thru 1980. A close review indicates my induction records showing my SSAN. Every thing from boot camp thru 1972 consistently shows SN. 1973 is a mixed bag. Early in 73 the SSAN starts showing up in combination with the SN and progresses; sometimes one, sometimes the other... by 1974 it is exclusively SSAN. This is for fleet units operating out of San Diego.


From: Brad Meyer (bradm110@juno.com)
Subject: Re: information on USN dog tags over the years

>For instance, I've had some conflicting data about how "religious
>preference" is noted (as an example, "CATHOLIC" or "CATH" or just a
>"C")

Mine, issued in '67 had Jewish as the bottom line, although "No Pref"
as one of the possibilites for that line. The set that were reissued
sometime between '73 and '77 omitted this line altogether. I never
found out why they were reissued. I think it was for sea trials on the
Ike but I don't remember for sure. I sure remember what happened to
them though. My discharge date exceeded the final cutoff date for the
transition to CPO style blues by eight stinkin' days and I'll be go to
hell if they don't hold an "all hands" inspection three days before my
discharge that I cannot get out of. The cheezy small stores uniform I
had to by, along with the cheezy CPO style hat, and that second set of
dog tags, all went over the side when I crossed the Mississippi River
heading for Montana. I though it a fitting gesture at the time.

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