Last week SSgt Jim Leonard asked if anyone had ever seen the type of dog tag he mentioned. Myself and several other guys in my outfit were issued them on a trial basis. Enclosed is a picture of it, alongside my regular tag I was issued in boot camp. Nobody ever took our picture for the new tag, and nobody I knew ever even wore it on the chain with their regular tag. It is as he described, edges meant to be crimped over the picture. On the regular tag, the blood type is listed just as a letter, in my case, A. On the new tag it is listed as BTA. They managed to spell my name wrong on the new tag. On the side where the picture would go, on the top is written in fine print “addressograph”, and on the bottom “credit plate”. Maybe they were meant to be used for some type of early credit card, and the military decided to try them out. I don’t remember if I was issued the new tag in Okinawa or Lejeune, but it would have been either 1961 or 1962. I have always carried a dog tag on my key chain, and once a guy made fun of it, saying I was “living in the past”. When I told him that if I was in an accident they would know who I was, that I needed type A blood, and if I died, to call a minister and not a priest or a rabbi. That shut him up.
On another subject, lots of guys have complained that it is difficult to get a VA health card. In my case it was very easy. I live in the northenmost part of NJ, on the NY-NJ-PA border. I went to the Castle Point VA Hospital, near Poughkeepsie, NY, where a very helpful counselor helped me fill out the papers, and told me I would be notified when to go to the Port Jervis, NY VA out-patient clinic to get enrolled. Port Jervis is only 20 minutes from home, easy to get to. I got the notice about 10 days later, went to the clinic, they issued me an ID card on the spot, and gave me a date to return for a free full physical and bloodwork. I was assigned a team consisting of a Dr., nurse, and social worker, as is everyone at the clinic. I was told if I ever had problems, to contact my social worker and she would handle things between me and the VA. Like Agent Orange claims, Lejeune water is considered presumptive, and you can enroll regardless of your income (not that I make a whole lot on SS which hasn’t been given a cost-of-living increase in years). Anyone who was at Lejeune during the listed dates should apply and get in the system.
Cpl. Paul W. Lindner