June 29th, 2010

Tasty as a Cupcake

The wearing of dog tags and hand to hand combat training in the US Army

Hey everybody. I have three questions that will really help me with a character in a novel I'm writing. I fear that these are really stupid questions, but I'd love answers if possible. Thank you in advance.

I went through all the entries, and aside from a very funny entry by tashabear on how dog tags wouldn't be cold unless they came from a corpse (and seriously, don't any of these fic writers wear jewelry?), and a different entry on whether Sheppard from SGA might know martial arts, I haven't found exactly what I was hoping for, so hear goes.

Dog tags: Would it be terribly unusual for someone who was honourably discharged from the US Army for medical reasons to continue wearing his dog tags under his civilian clothes? I haven't found this information anywhere, and the one Army member I was able to ask said he wore his as little as possible (he had the chest hair problem), and gave the distinct impression that only gung-ho dorks who enlisted at 18 out of patriotic enthusiasm would ever even consider wearing the tags off duty, let alone after they were discharged.

My character happened to have enlisted at 18, and did indeed love the Army and never thought he'd leave for anything other than retirement. Under those circumstances I think he qualifies as enough of a dork to keep wearing his tags, but is this really something that former Army personnel might actually do? I know I could make this up, but I really don't want to have something eye-rollingly outside the realm of possibility.

My other question is about the 'Army Values' tag. What are they made out of, and what colour are they? My Army dork would definitely have one.

Finally, the combat training. Are Army recruits taught only basic hand-to-hand combat? If so, what does that actually mean? Would you be able to take someone down in a bar fight with it, for example?
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