Why Metal Dog Tags Used by the Military Have Rubber Bumpers

Metal Dog Tags with Bumpers
You may have seen these metal dog tags with the black rubber running around it and wondered what those are for. The black rubber running around these dog tags go by a few names, and these include rubber bumpers, dog tag silencers, and dog tag borders, to name a few. Not all dog tags have these, but a lot of those that are used by military personnel can be seen sporting these rubber edges on them. What are these for and why don’t all dog tags have them?

As one of the names implies, these are dog tag silencers and were attached to the metal tags for a very good reason – to keep them silent. Since dog tags are made out of metal, and these are worn in pairs around a person’s neck, when the person wearing these move, these tags bump into each other. When this happens, they usually make a clinking noise. If you are wearing these tags to combat and your tags clink together, you will be easily giving your position away to the enemy. This is why these tags come with these “silencers”.

These black silencers were widely used during the Vietnam war, however this was not the first time that these were actually used. Silencers were used on dog tags in the Second World War, but instead of being made out of rubber, it was said that these were made out of white plastic. These served the same purpose as the black bumpers though, and were used to help keep the enemies from hearing the clinking noises made by two tags bumping into each other.

Aside from these bumpers, there were other methods used to keep these tags from hitting each other and giving away the positions of the wearers of such tags. One method that you may not have been privy to but have actually seen being used is the one where a smaller chain is used to attach the other dog tag to the longer chain around the neck. This was also done to help prevent both tags from hitting each other and making noise.

This served another purpose as well, aside from keeping tags silent. The tag on the smaller chain that was attached to the longer chain was said to be the tag that is removed should the soldier wearing this dog tag lose his life in the line of duty. This smaller chained tag is the one that is usually placed on the soldier’s big toe for identification purposes, or hung on the temporary board that was placed on the soldier’s grave.

Share on Facebook