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Beads on ID Tag chain (Dog Tags) and what they are for?
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Picture of admin
posted
I received this in an email and figured I would post it here incase anyone had any information for this person.

From: ----------@yahoo.com

i'm curious about the count of beads on a standard issue chain for service tags. unfortunately i was unable to find this information on your website. i would truly appreciate the info.

------------------//

Does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumor that the beads are so that POWS can count down the time?


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Posts: 733 | Registered: 15 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Dreamstalker
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I dont remember where I heard that but I do know I have heard that before.
 
Posts: 330 | Location: Ft Campbell  | Registered: 11 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post


Picture of admin
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I found the reg that covers the wear of identification tags. I don't think that it will say anything about why the chain is a certain length, but it may give the specs for standard army issue tags.

Hah, look what I found. I bet nobody knew military dependants were authorized the issue of ID tags.

Categories of Personnel Eligible for Issue of Army Identification Tags.

  • Military personnel of the Army.
  • US Citizens.
  • Dependents of US Army personnel.
  • Other U.S. nationals under the jurisdiction of overseas commanders.
  • Dependents who are not citizens may be furnished ID tags upon request. The phrase “Depn of US Natl” will be shown on the tags.


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Posts: 733 | Registered: 15 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
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http://www.snopes.com/military/notch.asp

How would one use the chain to count the days? And why?
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Bobby A
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this one was a board question once!!!


the long chain has 365 beads for each day of the year.
the small chain has 52 beads for each week of the year
 
Posts: 99 | Location: Ft. Sill, OK | Registered: 20 November 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
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I want to know; who here has ever counted the beads?
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post


Picture of admin
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I replied to the individual that wrote the email that although I would love to help him out, it is too early in the morning to focus on a task such as counting the beads. I had always heard a rumor that the number of beads was so that a POW could keep track of the days in captivity. Suppoedly they tie something like a string after each bead to note which bead they are on for that day. This way they know how long they are there....but that seems like it would make the situation even more depressing.

I have never counted the beads, but maybe one of these days I will stop by MCSS and buy an extra chain that I can cut apart with my gerber t do so.


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Posts: 733 | Registered: 15 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
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40 on the short chain, 206 on the long chain.
I'm going to have to assume that the purpose for that count is to provide for comfortable fit around the neck of most soldiers with the long chain, and to eliminate clanking with the short chain.

Next question?
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Caffeine Addict
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quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
40 on the short chain, 206 on the long chain.
I'm going to have to assume that the purpose for that count is to provide for comfortable fit around the neck of most soldiers with the long chain, and to eliminate clanking with the short chain.

Next question?


I heard the rumor about the 365 and 52 beads thing but unless you're a "big guy" It won't be that specific number because the chain would be too long.

I also remember counting the beads in basic to answer that question for myself.
 
Posts: 428 | Location: Fort Shafter (I'm backkkk in Iraq! Ramadi, Iraq!) | Registered: 28 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Quartermaster922
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the last explanation makes more sense than the POW one


"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
 
Posts: 300 | Location: Where all discharged soldiers go | Registered: 24 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of JT3166
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I am 6'6", 230 lbs. I have 42 beads on short and 220 on long. 365 beads would be too long for even myself. Had some other people in my section count them out too, 2 had 40 and 220 and another 2 had 42 and 215. It might be where you get them from also, what company makes them. Just another military legend, that may or may not be true. Maybe we should e-mail the MythBusters on the Discovery Channel to figure this one out.
 
Posts: 6 | Location: Camp Taji, Iraq | Registered: 19 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Quartermaster922
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sounds like a plan


"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
 
Posts: 300 | Location: Where all discharged soldiers go | Registered: 24 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post


Picture of admin
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I just send this to Ballchain.com, the world's leading manufacturer of ball chain...that chain use with the id tags.

----------//
To whom this may concern, As the world's largest manufacturer of ball chain I am hoping that you can help clarify a rumor that relates to ball chain and the identification tags issued to United States Servicemembers.

Since joining the military, I have been told that there were 365 beads on the long chain and 52 on the small chain. This is supposedly used for Prisoners of War to help count the days in captivity.

Do you know if the size of the ball chain used for identification tags has changed through the years because it seems that 365 beads would cause the chain to hang too low.

Have you heard this rumor before? This is an ongoing debate in our community and I am hoping to get the point of view of the experts on this matter.

Thank you, ArmyStudyGuide.com


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Posts: 733 | Registered: 15 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Coinage
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I've also always heard the rumors, but never really put too much merit to it. It's give a nice story, tho.
 
Posts: 130 | Location: DC | Registered: 18 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Quartermaster922
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one mystery down now for those mystery MRE"s


"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
 
Posts: 300 | Location: Where all discharged soldiers go | Registered: 24 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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