Because it is a comedy, McHale’s Navy is hardly a documentary about correct military procedures. However, recently I saw an episode which included a scene which appeared to be a nice touch of accurate portrayal, and I was wondering if it was in fact representative and if the same sort of practice takes place today.
In this scene a courier appears with orders for Captain Binghamton, and even though he is in full uniform in his office, the courier refuses to hand over the papers until Binghamton satisfactorily identifies himself.
If this was being played for laughs the rest of the episode would have been Binghamton frantically trying to recover his missing identification purloined by McHale’s crew. However, this was just presented as being normal procedure. Binghamton is wearing a “dog tag” around his neck, underneath his uniform. He somewhat awkwardly, although not excessively, fishes the tag out and shows it to the courier, who is satisfied and hands over the papers.
My question is whether this “present your dog tag” requirement is accurate for the period (World War II), and if similar requirements are sometimes encountered today.