- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I have been searching the Web for some information and found your site. I thought possibly you could help me.

My husband is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy — just wanted to let you know.

We lived in New Jersey for 30 years, and my husband found much pleasure digging with his metal detector at a lake near our home when the dam broke. Among many of the items he found was a dog tag for:

William Thomas McClain — 713-07-82 — T644TYPE-O USNR/C

I have searched the Internet thinking William McClain would have been a local guy but no success. This is a common name, so I am not having any results. I would like to return his dog tags to him and wonder if you could give me any info as how I could find info on his whereabouts.

I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

Phyllis R.
Via the Internet

Dear Phyllis:

Using typical Navy WWII dog tag markings, this tag reads:

William Thomas McClain (Name)
713-07-82 (Serial Number)
T644 (Date of last tetanus shot — June 1944)
TYPE-O (Blood Type — there were no positive or negative factors known during WWII)
USNR/C (US Naval Reserve/ Religion — Catholic)

Hopefully by highlighting this Navy vet’s info, one of my readers may know how to locate this World War ll swabby. If you read on, you’ll see that you are not the only one trying to solve this type of mystery.

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My wife received one of her father’s (deceased) dog tags as a Christmas gift this year. He was in the Navy during WW II on the USS St. Louis. The tag is quite different than my father’s and my Vietnam tags. Ours were oval with the tooth notch. His is round. I have found online that is one of their styles (Navy). The stamping is as follows:


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