One of the many downsides of having a loved one deployed in a war zone is that the mind tends to wander toward not-so-cheery places. One thought I had often while living near Fort Drum, New York, during my husband’s Iraq tours was this: I don’t know many people in this town, and my closest family is five hours away. And when I go outside to exercise, I don’t like to carry anything with me except my music player and keys. So what if I get hit by a car or knocked unconscious? It will surely take the doctors and police hours, if not days, to figure out my identity.
I’m a military spouse, so the solution to my problem should have been obvious to me sooner: I got myself a dog tag. If you exercise without carrying a driver’s license or other ID, consider getting your own dog tag for peace of mind.
This is my dog tag, which I keep in a pouch that attaches to my sneaker. It only cost about $3 and is printed with my full name and home phone number, plus the phone numbers for my parents and in-laws. (The area codes are blurred out on the photo.) The military issues dog tags for good reason: The metal tags are ultra durable, so they won’t wear out no matter how much rain, heat, snow, and sweat they’re exposed to.
I bought my dog tag at Bradley’s Military Surplus right outside the main gate at Fort Drum. (They also sell online.) Pick yours up at a military supply store; most will make it for you on the spot. And don’t worry that you’re not in the military. The shop owners are happy to sell us civilians their merchandise.
Even though my husband is back home and would notice if I didn’t return from a run, I feel safer knowing that should something bad happen, it would take just a few seconds for a Good Samaritan to find my name and contact information.