replacing lost dog tags
General Military Questions

Replacing Dog Tags: 6 Things You Need to Know

When you think about being in the military, you probably envision wearing dog tags. Also, since losing items is a part of the human condition, you likely wonder about replacing dog tags if they become lost.

Fortunately, replacing dog tags is extremely easy, as long as you know what information your military branch requires on the tags.

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History of the Dog Tag

History of Military Dog Tags

During the Civil War, soldiers had concerns about unmarked graves if no one knew who they were after being killed in action.

Some soldiers added tags to their clothing while others painted information on their uniforms.

Also, some soldiers would find someone to engrave metal tags to wear that included important identification information.

Eventually, the military branches caught on and established orders to give soldiers ID tags that include their name and military information.

The tags were to be around the neck and under the uniform.

Eventually, the military included tags, similar to the modern versions.

The primary tag is on the cord or chain, and that tag remains with the body. The second tag, which hangs on a shorter chain attached to the main chain, is for burial service records.

As time and wars went forward, the dog tag evolved. Over time, the tags included then eliminated specific information.

The worries over being in an unmarked grave fall to the wayside as the ability to scientifically identify humans improves.

However, dog tags continue to be a part of a service member’s uniform.

Replacing Dog Tags: What Are the Rules?

Each military branch has different information that goes on the tags.

Also, you can go to whoever is on base that handles uniform and equipment issuing to discuss replacing dog tags.

However, you can easily replace your dog tags from an outside source.

When shopping, look to make sure the company follows the military branch specification, and you will find most shops follow expectations.

Independent replacement dog tag shops have templates, and all you need is your personal information handy.

Input your information according to your specific military branch and wait for your new dog tags to arrive.

Replacing Dog Tags: Frequently Asked Questions

military dog tags can be replaced

We answer some common questions regarding dog tags and replacing dog tags below.

Where and how do you wear dog tags?

Typically, dog tags go around the neck and under the clothing. However, some wear their dog tags attached and laced through the laces of a combat boot.

Usually, dog tags are worn during combat and are unnecessary during peacetime and regular military duties.

Are there military jobs where you cannot wear dog tags?

If you work with aircraft, you might hear you cannot wear your dog tags.

Aircraft maintenance jobs and other military jobs are a hazard to either the equipment or the service member.

If you have a job where you cannot wear jewelry due to safety concerns, you cannot wear your dog tags, either.

Do I need to add my social security number when replacing dog tags?

No, the military stopped adding social security numbers on dog tags due to privacy concerns.

The identification number currently in use is the Department of Defense benefits number is on the dog tags instead of your social security number.

Is the same information on dog tags no matter the military branch?

No, each military branch has its own required information necessary for the dog tags.

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What information is on my replacement dog tags?

The different military branches have different requirements.

The Army includes your name, your Department of Defense identification number, blood type, and religious affiliation if you have one.

The Marine tags have your last name and first and middle initial.

Also, the Marines include your Department of Defense Identification number, blood type, and gas mask size are on the replacement tags.

For the Air Force, you include your full name and middle initial, your Department of Defense Identification number, your blood type, and your religion, if you have a preference.

If you are in the Navy and looking into replacing dog tags, it is essential to know the Navy no longer issues dog tags. However, you can still order a set online.

While there are no specifications for the Navy dog tags, the include information is typically your full name, religious background, blood type, and Social Security Number.

Also, the Coast Guard no longer issues dog tags, as well.

However, those who buy them privately typically include their name, blood type, Department of Defense Identification Number, and religious preference, if any.


Replacing dog tags is a simple process.

You have the option to visit the personnel unit regarding a new set.

if you prefer to buy them independently, there are several online shops with templates that ensure you receive tags identical to ones you could get from your military branch.

In some military branches, wearing dog tags is optional as not all branches still issue dog tags.

However, in any case you can still order replicas. 

Also, if you have a job that requires you to not wear jewelry, you will not wear dog tags during your duties.

Many soldiers wear dog tags during combat only. 



Rob V.
Replacing Dog Tags

Replacing Dog Tags

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Find out how to get new dog tags, what the history of dog tags are, the rules regarding their replacement, and much more.
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