General Krueger, 6th Army Commander,
made an inspection of our unit as well as the base. It was a well known
fact that the general was interested in clean weapons, good foot wear,
and dog tags. He would inspect every man in an open ranks inspection.
After inspecting the platoon, and when the platoon leader had returned
to his post, General Krueger would inspect the officer exactly as he had
each man. The final item to be inspected was dog tags. The person
being inspected, after the general said now let’s see your dog tags,
reached up to his fatigue jacket, opened the next to the top button, and
flipped out his dog tags so that they were in plain view. We all
practiced this action so that it was accomplished rapidly and easily.
Dog tags were checked and rechecked so there was no possibility of an
inadvertent mix-up. Every one had his own dog tags and was wearing
them. To do otherwise was to be shot on the spot. On this day one of
the platoon leaders opened his jacket, reached in—reached
in—unbelievable—no dog tags. One who had so diligently checked and
rechecked his platoon and now—no dog tags. There stood Col Jones, LTC
Britten, and Lt. Bailey each doing their best to kill with looks. We
all felt deeply for our fallen brother officer, but we were powerless to
help. In fact there was just a touch of comedy. Afterwards we laughed
and joked about it, but our brother never saw the humor in it. Where
were the missing dog tags? They were lying on his bunk. He had taken
them off to blitz them with a high shine for the inspection. So much
for the best laid plans.