Finding WWII records / Identifying patches

Hello, I am trying to find military information about my Grandfather. does not have anything other than Registration Card. Could someone help me with this? THANKS!

Name: Edgar Ludwell Lam

Served: in WWII / Army

Born in: Greene (County), Virginia

Dog tag number: RA43003123 T-46 (WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?)

BDAY: May 9, 1927

These are his patches...any idea what they were for?



    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    In addition to the helpful information already provided by a History Hub community member, we suggest that you request a copy of Edgar Ludwell Lam’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), which should be in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Veterans and next of kin of deceased veterans also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests

    For a complete copy of a personnel file, in Section II, on the line for "Other" (Specify), write "Complete copy of every page of personnel file - not an extract."

    Archival OMPFs may also be requested by visiting the Archival Research Room at the National Archives at St. Louis. Please see the linked web pages for more information. Please email for further assistance prior to making an appointment. 

    Next, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Draft Registration Cards for Virginia, October 16, 1940–March 31, 1947 in the Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975 (Record Group 147) that includes a draft registration card for Edgar Ludwell Lam. This card has been digitized and is available on Fold3 (one of the National Archives’ digitization partners) free of charge.

    You may also wish to request Edgar Lam’s Classification History (SSS Form 102). The Classification History may contain: name; date of birth; classification and date of mailing notice; date of appeal to the board; date and results of armed forces physical examination; entry into active duty or civilian work in lieu of induction (may include date, branch of service entered and mode of entry, such as enlisted or ordered); date of separation from active duty or civilian work; and general remarks. Please complete a Form NA-13172 to request a search of these records and email it to the National Archives at St. Louis (RRPO) at We recommend that you attach the draft registration card, as it includes information which will make it easier to locate his classification history. For more information, see Selective Service Records.

    In addition, the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been digitized and is available on as the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. Please note that there may be a fee for using Ancestry. The BIRLS information is also available free of charge (with registration) on Fold3 as the Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File. You may also wish to check for access to Ancestry and Fold3 at your local library as many library systems subscribe to these sites, making them free for their patrons. We located one BIRLS entry for Edgar Lam and have included it here for you:


    Edgar Ludwell Lam



    Birth Date

    9 May 1927

    Death Date

    25 Jul 2001



    Page number


    If he took advantage of any federal veteran benefits after his time in service, the US Department of Veteran Affairs may have files on him. To request a search for records, file a FOIA request with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their FOIA website is All questions regarding VA’s FOIA procedures and fees may be emailed to

    Since some veterans registered with their state or local veterans service agencies after they separated from service, we suggest that you contact the state or county veterans agency where Edgar Ludwell Lam lived for additional assistance. Please review the NPRC web page Other Methods to Obtain Military Service Records for more information. Please note that registering discharge papers with local and state authorities was optional, so we cannot guarantee that these types of organizations will have his records.

    Finally, if you would like to learn more about dog tags, we suggest that you review the U.S. Department of Defense website Dog Tag History: How the Tradition & Nickname Started, as well as the articles DOG TAG REFERENCE and U.S. Army WW2 Dog Tags. In general, dog tags varied among the different branches of service, and they also changed over the course of World War II and into the Korean War. World War II-era dog tags usually included name, rank, service number, blood type, and religion. Early WWII tags included an emergency notification name and address. Many tags also included a "T" for those who had a tetanus vaccination; the “46” on your grandfather’s dog tag may indicate the year he received the vaccine.

    We invite you to continue the conversation with community members on History Hub, but should you have follow up questions for the staff at Archives II, please email us at so that we can assist you further. 

    We hope this is helpful for your research! 


    Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR)

    [RR2RR 23-65925-RS]

  • The T-46 does represent the year the tetanus vaccine was administered.

    Additionally, the "RA" before his service number indicates that he was a volunteer--i.e., he wasn't drafted. Now, that said, some people who knew they were going to get called up by their board (after the end of the war) would sign up as volunteers, trading an extra year of service for the opportunity to influence what they'd be doing in the service.

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