Replacement Dog Tags – Where to Get Them, and What You Need to Know Before Buying

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How to Order Replacement Dog Tags
I frequently receive emails from readers who wish to replace their lost identification tags (also known as dog tags), or from family members who wish to get replacement dog tags for their loved ones, either as a gift, or to remember their service. These are all great reasons to get a new set of dog…

I frequently receive emails from readers who wish to replace their lost identification tags (also known as dog tags), or from family members who wish to get replacement dog tags for their loved ones, either as a gift, or to remember their service. These are all great reasons to get a new set of dog tags.

If you are still serving in the military, you can get a set of dog tags issued to you. Otherwise, you will need to purchase dog tags from a third party vendor. This guide will show you what you need to know about purchasing replacement dog tags.

How to Order Replacement Dog Tags

The Purpose of Dog Tags

In life, and in death, people want to be identified and remembered. Soldiers have used variations of dog tags and similar means of identification for hundreds of years. They were first used by US service members in the Civil War when soldiers would scratch their names and hometowns on the backs of their belt buckles or other gear. Informal identification badges soon became popular, and soldiers used a variety of pins, tags, medallions, or other objects in which they engraved their names, hometown, battles they fought in, and other information.

Dog tags weren’t standardized by the US Army until the early 1900’s when the War Department authorized identification tags in War Department General Order No. 204. It was in WWI that soldiers were first issued two identification tags. The tags included various information, often including the member’s name, rank, serial number, company, regiment, or corps.

It was in WWII that dog tags earned their nickname, due to resembling dog registration tags required by many municipalities (the official name for dog tags is actually identification tags; the term dog tag is not officially recognized, though it is more widely used).

Through the years, the purpose has remained the same, while other features have changed, including their shape, size, the information on them, and the material they are made from. Information that has been included in dog tags through the years could include serial numbers, next of kin contact information, immunizations, and more. Today’s dog tags are made from a material that is durable, but that won’t rust or corrode from normal wear and tear.

Information Found on Today’s Dog Tag

Today, dog tags issued by the US military include the service member’s Name, Branch of Service (all except Army), Serial Number (often Social Security Number, or DoD ID Number), Blood Type, and Religious Preference (if any). This information is the most essential information needed on the battlefield.

Note: as of early 2016, the Army is the only branch that has gone away from the Social Security Number on dog tags. They started using the DoD ID Number in Nov. 2015.

The information on dog tags should be protected because having the name and Social Security number is enough for many people to steal the servicemember’s identity. Identity theft is a big problem, not just for servicemembers, but for everyone.

Why The History Lesson?

It’s important to understand the purpose of dog tags and the information they contain before ordering a replacement set of dog tags. If you are currently serving in the military and need a replacement set, you can get them issued at no cost. Contact your personnel unit and they can issue them to you or tell you where you can get a set issued. These should only be used in the line of duty. Don’t hang them from the mirror on your car or display them at home. There is no need, and displaying your personal information is not only unnecessary but potentially harmful.

Ordering Replacement Dog Tags

The military only issues dog tags to current servicemembers. They do not issue them to veterans. The National Archives also doesn’t issue replacement dog tags if you make a military records request. They will only send copies of your military records.

So where do you buy them? There are many places that will make custom dog tags. You can find them on many military installations, military surplus stores, or at dozens of online stores, including USAMilitaryMedals.com.

USAMilitaryMedals.com Military Medals Store

What Information Should You Order on Replacement Dog Tags?

Before ordering a set of replacement dog tags, consider your needs and who they are for. Many people want them to commemorate their own service, or to remember a loved one who served in the military. In the case of commemorative dog tags, the personal information just isn’t needed. There is no need to display one’s Social Security Number, blood type, or religious affiliation.

I recommend replacing that information with the veteran’s name, branch of service, years served, and their rank (if known). You could also add information such as wars or battles the veteran participated in.

For example, my grandfather served in the US Navy during WWII. I don’t have his dog tags, nor have I ever seen a copy of them. I could order a replacement set to commemorate his service, but there would be no need for me to have his military serial number, his blood type, or similar information.

Having a set of replacement dog tags with the following information would be more meaningful to me than having his Social Security Number and blood type:

Frederick Heck
US Navy 1943-1945
WWII

The above shows his service affiliation, the dates he served, and his participation in WWII. This is all the information that is needed on a set of commemorative dog tags. You could, of course, also add information such as the veteran’s rank, or theater of operations, battles, or engagements they participated in. What you include is up to you.

If you are looking for a replacement set of dog tags, then consider doing something similar. I’m sure this will be appreciated just as much, if not more, than the dog tags with the personal information, since dog tags without the personal info can be displayed publicly without fear of someone stealing their personal information. You also don’t have to worry about giving that personal information to the company making the dog tags. I’m not saying companies will steal from you – but you simply don’t know what will happen to the information once it leaves your hands.

Dog Tag Styles

The last is of consideration is the style of the dog tags. Styles and methods have changed over the years. Many stores are able to make dog tags in a variety of styles, including those used through the major military eras. In many cases, websites make it easy to order a dog tag based on the era served, including WWII, Korea War, Vietnam era, and the current style. Be sure to specify the style you want when you place your order.

Dog Tags for Other Purposes

Military dog tags are very useful and can be used for much more than battlefield identification. Many people also buy military dog tags for purposes other than for their current or previous military service. Military-style dog tags can be used for pet identification (they are dog tags, after all!), to identify your luggage, as medical identification disks (to list allergies, medications, or medical conditions), as promotional items for businesses, and much more.

Where to Order Dog Tags

Again, if you are currently serving in the military, then you should be able to get a free replacement set from your personnel section, unit deployment monitor, or somewhere else on base.

If you are no longer serving, then you should try a local military surplus store, or look online. I don’t have direct experience ordering them online since I have always been able to get mine from the military.

But you could try USA Military Medals, which offers a variety of military awards, decorations, uniform items, replacement dog tags, and other military regalia. Prices are reasonable, they ship within 24 hours, and quality is guaranteed. You can learn more at USAMilitaryMedals.com.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. Fran Daniels says

    Is there any way to get the same style of dog tags I had in the Army? I was in from 74-79.

    • Audrey Henry aka (Mcdougle) says

      I went to Elermentry School P.S 54. I was a student in the Bronx NyC.I reviewed my first set of dog tags ,in my first year in the 1st grade. as a matter of fact all children did of school age. During the war. How can I get a set . My grandmother kept one set while we wore the other set. When she passed many things were not found. My Birth Name ((( Audrey Henry))) Married last Name is Mcdougle) hope to get a response.j

    • Audrey Henry aka (Mcdougle) says

      I went to Elermentry School P.S 54. I was a student in the Bronx NyC.I reviewed my first set of dog tags ,in my first year in the 1st grade. as a matter of fact all children did of school age. During the war. How can I get a set . My grandmother kept one set while we wore the other set. When she passed many things were not found. My Birth Name ((( Audrey Henry))) Married last Name is Mcdougl) hope to get a response.j

  2. Wanda June Pittman McCarty says

    My only brother past away on February 11,1973 in Qutonamo Bay Cuba. He was a firman Apprentice. His name was Robert Ray Pittman and was 19 years old. When we recieved his items his Dog Tags were not with any of it. Through Senator Howell Heflin and the letter he wrote me, my brother was injected with a overdose of Liberian, Valium, & Donavon for a backache. This took place on his ship and at the navel hospital. I would like to have his original dog tags from the USCG from 1973 He ship was number 722 US Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthrau out of New York. You can keep his Social off BUT I would like his blood type on there. I am his sister and only living family. Thank you so much and have a blessed day. My address is 2820 Buckskin Dr, Gardendale Alabama 35071

  3. Wanda June Pittman McCarty says

    My only brother past away on February 11,1973 in Qutonamo Bay Cuba. He was a firman Apprentice. His name was Robert Ray Pittman and was 19 years old. When we revived his items his Dog Tags were not with any of it. Through Senator Howell Heflin and the letter he wrote me, my brother was injected with a overdose of Liberian, Valium, & Donavon for a backache. This took place on his ship and at the navel hospital. I would like to have his original dog tags for the USCG from 1973 He ship was number 722 US Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthrau out of New York. You can keep his Social off BUT I would like his blood type on there. I am his sister and only living family. Thank you so much and have a blessed day. My address is 2820 Buckskin Dr, Gardendale Alabama 35071

  4. Roger Bell says

    My ‘Original’ dog tags were destroyed in a house fire, where I also lost my mother. I am trying to get another set, with ALL of the original information.Such as Name, blood type, religious preference, AND, my original service number, NOT my social security number. Any help would be greatly appreciated. RDB

  5. Cheryl Love says

    I’m wondering if you can tell me how to get my late husbands Army service (in uniform) photo. I would love to have that.

  6. John Fornuto says

    Hello, my wife and I are antique dealers and have just lost a good friend who just passed away with no heirs. His wife died several years ago. He served in the Army in the 50’s. We have been entrusted with his large estate. We found his tags and don’t know what to do with them. Please advise. Regards, John Fornuto.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I am sorry for your loss. This is a great question, but one that I don’t think there is a single answer to. I don’t know of any use for them, other than as a keepsake. If his funeral service has not yet occurred, then you can consider placing his dog tags with him in his final resting place. If his funeral service has already happened, then I’m not sure what else you can do, short of leaving them at his headstone, if he has one. I am not aware of any place to send dog tags after a veteran passes away. You may consider contacting a local Veterans Service Organization and ask if they have any recommendations. Again, I am sorry for your loss, and I wish you the best.

  7. Robin Deweese says

    My son is trying to get his dad’s dog tags from where he was in the service his father passed away over 10 years ago how would I go about getting these for him

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robin, I am sorry for your loss.

      The military only issues them to current military members, so the best thing to do is order a set of dog tags from a company that makes them to U.S. military specs. Best wishes to you and your family.

  8. Suzzy Weaver says

    My Dad was in the Navy Reserves in mid 50s. He was never issued dog tags. Is the a reason they didn’t issue them at that time.

    • Teresa beveridge says

      Every soldier gets dog tags when they go through boot camp. He may have lost them. You can get new ones made for him.

  9. Grace A. Dane says

    Hi Ryan. First, I’d like to thank you for providing many much-needed answers to our military families. I come from a Navy family (both sides) and have a question for you regarding Navy dog tags. Recently, my mother passed away, and while going through her unbelievable amount of personal effects I came upon a family member’s dog tag. As thrilling as it was for me, it left more questions than answers. You see, her brother, father, and grandfather were all Navy veterans AND shared the exact same name (including middle initials)! Her grandfather was the senior, her father was the junior, and her brother the third; none of these titles were on the tag. They are all long-deceased and I am lacking any family contacts who might know to which man the tag belonged. The tag does, however, have a seven digit identification number on the third line. The fourth line is indicative of his blood type and religious preference (“A” and “C”). The fifth line just says USN. The tag is notched at the opposite end of the hole. My question to you is- Is there any fairly easy way to look up the ID numbers in hopes of discovering the original owner? Or would I need to send a request to a government agency to release that information to me? No matter who it belongs to (my uncle, my grandfather, or my great grandfather); it is and will always be a treasured family heirloom. Any suggestions you may have would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. Thank you so very much! Sincerely, Grace A. Dane

  10. Paul says

    Hello Ryan,
    I was hoping you could help me decipher an old “Dog Tag” I found while Metal Detecting. It is stainless steel and in excellent condition. It has a notch on the end opposite of the side with the hole. It clearly has the name Charles A. Brooks, the next line has an eight digit number followed by T43-44 then on the same line, O for his blood type the line below that is a P for Protestant. I am familiar with some tags like this because I am an Army Brat (Dad was an Army MSC Officer and Lifer) and I’m sure this is the real thing. Could you shed any light on when this tag may have been issued? I’m especially confused by the T43-44 (WW2?) Any assistance you can. Give would be much appreciated. I would like to return this tag to the family if possible. Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Paul, Thank you for contacting me. This is a great story, and I hope you will be able to track down this individual. I’m not an expert in the history of dog tags or other heraldry. But it might be worth reaching out to Zachariah Fike, who runs the nonprofit Purple Hearts Reunited. He returns lost medals to military veterans.

      I don’t know if he will have the answer, but he might be able to point you in the right direction of how to do further research.

      I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best!

  11. Christine says

    Hello Ryan,
    My Fiancee is currently Army Reserves after 20+ years of service plus 5 combat tours. We have been together over 6 years and last year he quietly gave me his dog tags which I know meant more than any diamond ring and I was honored and thrilled.
    He suffers from severe PTSD/TBI and getting him to share/get close has been a real struggle. Unfortunately I moved recently and although I put the tags in a secure place that whole box is missing and I’m going crazy trying to find them. I have all of his info (DoD#, blood type, religion etc) and need to make a copy. What exactly should go on it and in what order? I would normally just tell him and ask to get another set from his unit but he is so reactionary and I know giving me his tags made him feel very vulnerable so if I said I lost them he would be hurt, anxious, etc.
    Thanks for any info!

  12. Danny says

    Hello my Grandfather died in Vietnam and his tags have been lost in time. I know they are for military identification purposes. My mother and aunt have no memories of their father. I was trying to find away to make a memorial dog tag based on his for his girls. Any idea of what to put on it I would like to be respectful just don’t know how to go about it. thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Danny,

      I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure this was difficult for your mother and aunt.

      Regarding a dog tag, I would just put his name, rank, branch of service, and years served. You could also put something like, Vietnam War, or Purple Heart or any other decorations, such as Bronze Star.

      An example could look like this:

      First M. Last
      Staff Sergeant
      U.S. Army 1968 – 1971
      Vietnam War – Purple Heart

      This would be a very respectful way to honor his memory and would be a beautiful remembrance for your mother and aunt.

      I wish you and your family the best.

  13. Francis Iona Jolly says

    Hello I am trying to get a copy of my dad’s dog tag, he passed away and I would love to have a copy of them sent he lost his years before I was born. Please help

  14. Nika says

    Hi,

    My dad served in the US army before I was born. He continuously asks about dog tags in which he cannot find. I would like to get h a new set of army tags. I was reading in the beginning where the information that you have on here may not be for the army branch. I was wondering what all information will be requested on the dog tag. I would like to see if I can get this before his birthday.

  15. David Strean says

    Is there a reason for having two dog tags? Maybe just a spare. My wife asked me and I didn’t know.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, The primary purpose of the dog tag is for identification, so having two tags provides multiple means for identification if the individual is wounded or killed in action.

      Typically military members will wear one around their neck and often place another one in a boot or another location on their person (it’s not uncommon to lace one into a boot).

      Another reason for having two dog tags is so one dog tag can be removed from the body in the event it is not immediately recoverable. This serves as a way to report the casualty. The other dog tag would remain on the body so it can be identified when recovered.

      (I realize this is morbid, but it is also a reality).

      Thank you.

      • David says

        Thank you very much sir for your answer and the helpful service you provide to others. God bless, Dave.

  16. Francis Joseph McDonough III says

    Hi Ryan,

    Good stuffs here. I want to get my mother, will be 93 and is the last blood in family line, matriarch, and Gold Star Family, dog tags of her brother. Her brother died aboard USS Corvina Hull #226. It is the ONLY submarine sunken by another submarine, Japanese I-176, in ALL OF WW2. Corvina was featured and mentioned in a John Wayne movie called ‘Operation Pacific’. She can see or hear well these days and I want to give her something that she can hold in her hands and know what it is. Are you able to help? She was the head nurse and acting director at the Los Alamos Lab Hospital where they made the first bomb. Her husband, my father, was a member of the Fighting 69th Infantry, 273rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion. The BEST of the BEST. I want to do something to really HONOR her. Thank you. Would be NICE if Navy Vets came to her room to meet with her. She’s slipping and I really want to do something really nice before she gets worst.

  17. Brianna Hall says

    I would like to get one for my Pop-Pop as he was a merchant marine but he passed away and he told me he has dogtags but we weren’t able to find them anywhere.

  18. Hailey Turner says

    Hi! My JROTC program is having our 20th annual cadet ball, and i was wondering if i could speak with you through my personal email for the prices of the military dog tags!
    Please write back soon!
    -anon

  19. Thomas Zurica says

    My dad served in the US Army until I was born at Ft. Bragg. I would love to get him a set of dogtags for his birthday. Please help me make this happen. To this day he still remembers his service number better than his phone number.
    I still have the receipt from Womack Army Hospital where I was born.
    Thanks for your help I will wait for your response

  20. Madison says

    Hi! So my brother doesn’t have tattoos but really wants to get one in memory of our grandfather who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. The problem is my grandmother can’t find his dog tags and my brother wanted the tattoo to be an exact replica of them. Is there a way to get a copy of them That has the exact type of information that would have originally been on them? I want to get them as a surprise for him so he can finally get his wish and honor my grandfather.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Madison, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I don’t know. You could try contacting the National Archives and making a military records request. You can also research what information the military put on dog tags during that era and piece together that information on your own.

      But a better option would probably be to just put his name, branch of service, rank, and years served. That information would be more meaningful to a family member.

  21. T Drake says

    Hi. I would like to order a new dog tag for my Dad who serves in the Korean War. I would like to include his unit info but unfortunately he has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember. How do I get that info?

  22. Meghan Cantrell says

    I would like to order replacement dog tags for my husbands grandfather. How do I go about it, and what info what I put? He served in Vietnam.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Meghan, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend visiting USAMilitaryMedals.com or a similar vendor. They can create them and have them shipped very quickly.

      I recommend putting the veteran’s name, branch of service, rank, and years served. I do not recommend putting additional information such as date of birth, social security number, or any personally identifying information.

      I hope this is helpful and that your husband’s grandfather loves the gift!

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