Brass was used as a substitute standard in mid 1941, but by the end of 1942 due to a large growth of the US Armed Forces, there was a shortage of both brass and Monel, and now also brass was on the list of critical items; so the Army had to look again for another solution, and thus by end March of 1942, stainless steel became the substitute material.Although steel was also on the critical war material list, it was somehow still available in fairly larger numbers (as compared to some other raw materials) for other applications like Dog Tags! an aluminum Identification Tag, the size of a silver Half Dollar, stamped with the name, rank, company, regiment, or corps of the wearer; it will be worn by each Officer and Enlisted Man of the Army whenever the field kit is worn; it will be suspended from the neck, underneath the clothing by means of a cord or thong passed through a small hole in the Tag; it is further described as being part of the uniform…” This Identification Tag will be issued by the Quartermaster Corps, gratuitously to Enlisted Men ant at the cost price to the Officers.The “sole” purpose for wearing “Dog Tags” was to enable positive identification of a casualty or remains, and to make a difference both for the families and the authorities, should the person end up as being ‘known but to God!The War Department allotted following blocks for Trainees or Draftees inducted under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940:: religion P (Protestant) C (Catholic) H (Hebrew) in case the soldier had no specific religious preference, NO letter was printed.However non-regulation Tags exist indicating NP (no preference), N (no religion), or even O (other religion), such as GO, for Greek Orthodox).
Sofar, I’ve come across quite a number of these particular Dog Tags (such as ASN 6047961, ASN 6142278, ASN 6282652, ASN 6546135, ASN 6614153, ASN 6714785, ASN 6800169, ASN 6954193, ASN 6999329, and also found numbers such as ASN 7000141, ASN 7002613 and ASN 7040347).blood type (A B AB O), tetanus toxoid shot (T), and religious preference (C H P) are added 10 November 1941; name, street, city, and state address of person to be notified in case of emergency are to be indicated in the fifth line Figure illustrating a grouping belonging to Regular Army Serviceman Sergeant Jennings D. Included are his Monel Dog Tags held with a natural cotton cord holder, his US Army War Department, Medical Department Red Cross Identification Card (first pattern), as well as his laminated War Department Certificate of Identity to be Issued to Military and Civilian Protected Personnel (second pattern).in case of blood type AB which necessitates more space, prefix T is usually dropped and only numerals are retained or Tetanus Inoculation date simply takes over a following space; the same happens with extra long names of bearers Figure illustrating a Dog Tag belonging to Draftee Moore, Thomas W., ASN 34890315.The nine (9) Corps Areas were designated Service Commands July 22, 1942.As per AR 615-30, February 12, 1942, Corps Area Commanders were charged with assignment of Army Serial Numbers to all Enlisted Men within their respective areas.
Because of the continuous evolution in war industry, material shortages of different metals and/or metal alloys appeared on several occasions, whereby the Army still issued smaller lots of steel and Monel Identification Tags (quantities still available in some depots), this variety in production only stopped end 1943 – early 1944, when production reverted only to stainless steel! (American Red Cross) through its millions of Volunteers provided comfort and aid to members of the Armed Forces and their families, they served in ZI Hospitals suffering from severe shortages of medical staff, produced emergency supplies for war victims, collected blood, money, scrap, and ran Victory Gardens, they further maintained training programs in home nutrition, first aid and water safety.