This battered tag

Update – the date on the tag is 1952, not 1953. I only found this out by doing a hi-res scan of the tag, shown here: Click for a larger image. And thanks to Paul, for all the help today!


This tag I found some time ago has kept me searching in the night – long after I am tired. I owe this tag something – and now I believe I can only pay the debt through the help of people here on the Internet.

Some time ago I came across (in a most unusual way I won’t get into) a single dented and battered metal dog dog. A US dog tag – the one thing every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine hopes gets home if they do not – it gives the family closure. That’s important to warriors.

So I’ve searched to the best of my ability, here and there, and now and then. But this tag sits still on my bedside table – reminding me every night that I have a task unfinished. Certainly the odds are that this tag came from someone that made it home safely, raised a family, and is maybe dead of natural causes by now.

But I just don’t know that for sure. I’ve sent emails to several sites that claim to help return missing dog-tags – but so far, none have answered.

This tag has the following text that I can read:


(1-4 letters I cannot make out) 11 SEP 1952



There really should be a central clearinghouse for these tags.

As low as the odds are, if someone knows the rightful owner of this tag, please contact me.


  1. He MAY even live closer than you think: check THIS out:

    It could still be someone else altogether… but hey we’re looking for a 55 y/o Howard A Wood…

  2. @Paul – considering my source for this it would be an amazing coincidence if this tag came from someone 150 miles away, traveled around the world, and ended right back here.

    Noting the adjustment in the year (see the update above) this DOES fit into your find of the twice-married guy from the town I went to High School in (in 1979, but I didn’t receive this tag until 2003 and didn’t realize I received it until 2005!).

    Of course it isn’t a very unique name, so that could just me happenstance. But I wouldn’t be surprised, somehow, if he wasn’t the guy. That would be cool – I could hand deliver it back to him (or his family)

  3. @Paul – that’s very informative – thanks. I have reason (just a shred of it) to believe that this tag may have been issued to someone in the State Department – although I have little evidence to support that. And you are correct – my US Navy Dog tags from 1979 have no date on them at all.

    To me that just makes this more interesting.

    And just so you know – this tags is not imprinted on cheap aluminum like you get at the county fair. I’ve seen enough Vietnam-era dog tags to believe this is from that time period.

    You are good at research, my friend!

  4. There’s a Howard A Wood, who got married in Neuces county, TX in 1975, at age 22, and then 5 years later for a 2nd time in 1980 at age 27, which would make him from 1953.
    However, I just noticed that the marriage was BEFORE september, so he would have been 26 … so, unless that database calculates the ages wrong (just taking the years into account), the age is ‘wrong’ after all. (Still quite a coincidence).

    Anyway, the format as you described it, doesn’t match any of the US military formats (for starters: none of them contain a date!) See:
    So it’s most likely a custom made (non-military) dog tag.

  5. @Paul – ok, why? Sorry if I seem dense today – it was a very unusual day (even for me!)

  6. I KNOW you have been out of state!
    There was a reason I mentioned those two cities!

  7. @Paul – no, not quite. I HAVE been out of state a few times, remember πŸ™‚

    Until I know the history of the tag I won’t share MY history with the tag. No sense causing problems if none need to exist.

    But I didn’t “find it” laying around in Texas. It’s much more interesting than that πŸ˜‰

  8. Where did you find it? Corpus? Port Aransas?

  9. @Kaylyn- thanks. I’ve seen weirder things happen on the Internet than just returning a dog-tag. But I would truly like to return it!

  10. Rob-I will forward this to a friend of mine who is a Chief in the Navy. You’re right. You never know…