Found dog tags on Okinawa beach today...

What do I do with it?



Google searching “found dog tags” yields little of use. Any info about this thing would be appreciated.

Hmm. Interesting. My first thought would be to contact the VFW:

There’s a record for

    DATE OF BIRTH: 12/31/1922
    DATE OF DEATH: 11/07/1997
    (301) 359-9875

although the tags suggest a Marine (USMC) rather than the army?

Well, further searching turned thisup, so I guess I should send them there.

For my own personal curiosity, though, can anyone tell how old these things are likely to be? They were found on the Pacific coast of the island.

ETA: thanks, wallenstein! That’s cool.

Isn’t there still a USMC presence on Okinawa? It might be pretty recent. Is it a recreational beach?

Cool. I was going to mention that dog tags can be bought by civilians and printed with whatever they like, but those look quite old and genuine.

BTW: be careful who you give it to. There are a lot of collectors out there who would like to make some $$ from it. Make sure whomever you give it to will make a genuine attempt to give it to the owner or owner’s family.

The military stopped using service numbers in the early 70’s, and went to one’s SS number (nine digits).

Since the dogtag has seven digits, it has to be pre 70’s. My guess, WWII Okinawan invasion and occupation.

Interesting find.

This is a USMC dog tag from WW2, which looks quite different.

There is, but new tags have a notch at the bottom of them. This beach is pretty deserted in general.

According to this page:

So it’s from after 1959.

Actually, the notched tags were only created between the 40s and 70s. The manufacturing process has improved since then so the notch is no longer necessary and therefore not seen on the ID tags created today.

Perhaps he left it there as a tribute to his fallen comrades. :frowning: Put it back.

I vote for sending it to the Department of Defense per the instructions on the website the OP found. With any luck, they’ll follow up with her (him?) on whether or not they were returned to the Marine’s family.

FWIW, the Social Security Office says this:

Name: Charles T. Wolfe
SSN: 217-18-4847
Last Residence: 23236 Richmond, Chesterfield, Virginia, United States of America
Born: 31 Dec 1922
Died: 7 Nov 1997
State (Year) SSN issued: Maryland (Before 1951)

(before someone gets bent out of shape, the above is a matter of public record)

would you be able to take it to the base there? that would be my first thought.

ARMY, way back when, in a training movie, they showed us this.
2 tags, one on long chain, one on short chain attached to long chain.

When a soldier was killed on the battle field, if you were on body recover duty (funny how that major part of battles is so little covered in movies, stories and the general … ah hell … anyway ) You take the short chain tag, put the notch between the teeth and pop the jaw shut to drive it in or use the but of your bayonet or what ever to really hammer it in so that after the bodies have have been gathered and piled, there is the least chance of it’s identity being lost. The notch was used for this. Now I don’t know if it was made like that because of manufacturing necessity’s and the ARMY just utilized this or was deliberately designed this way, just sayin that this is what they taught us to do.

Anybody been on body retrieval duty in the last 10 years or so? What is the taught method now?

Again, I must note that since we have determined that the tags are not from a solider that died in the battle of Okinawa (in fact he lived until 1997 and the style of tag is post 1959) why do anything with them? Send them somewhere and they are most likely to be dropped in a drawer or just tossed in the trash. They have no historical or monitary value.

Perhaps he served in the actual battle. Perhaps he knew someone who died there. Or perhaps he was stationed in Okinawa and just liked the beach, got drunk and lost it. Put them back where they guy dropped them, for all we know he left them there on purpose.

It’s very unlikely that the name pulled up from the VA/SSN indexes are the former owner of the tags. He was in the wrong service.