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1980s gear questions

Started by knd643 , Jun 13 2013 07:08 PM

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#401 Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:26 AM

The green "Baseball Cap" was used in the 1960's and 1970's for lightweight patrolling and garrison wear. The Army Rangers continued the wear of the Green Slant Pocket Jungle Fatigues after Vietnam (75th Battalions). When the BDU Uniform began being issued in 1982-1983 it came along with a matching soft cover that was used for patrolling and garrison wear by most Army Units.

 

  • The Rangers continued using the 1950 style green soft cover with ear flaps for field use and garrison wear, along with their Black Beret's.

 

  • The Airborne forces used the BDU soft cover for field use if they weren't wearing a helmet. For garrison Airborne Forces wore their Maroon Beret's.

 

  • Special Forces used the BDU soft cover in the field (or whatever they wanted to wear) and in garrison a Green Beret, or if not a fully qualified (tabbed) member would wear a Maroon Beret.

My unit formed a small Long Range Recon Patrol Unit during the Grenada Operation. While most guys wore the Kevlar Helmet, they wore a BDU patrol cap for their operations. The reason for soft caps in the field was typically for observation purposes, noise abatement, comfort and tactical purpose- A small Recon Unit usually has the job of remaining undetected and so the thought process is that they don't need helmets since they won't be on purely large unit offensive operations. Even with Camo Cover a helmet has a distinct and more easily discernable shape that can be seen more easily. A Camo Soft Cover is crumply and has a distinct outline so blends in better with terrain. The Soft Cover will make less noise, be harder to detect, gives more observation capability, and is more comfortable while traversing through jungles etc. Like most line units in Vietnam used helmets, while most special operations units used soft covers.

 

Camoflauge application was important in the field for traditional units so the camo stick was used and applied as needed. For a LRRP Unit Camoflauge is life/death and was used and maintained on a more constant basis. Every ounce of skin was covered- When I attended Recondo School the task of camoflauge was graded and not once ounce of skin could show or you were a no-go. LRRP, SF, Recon, SEALS use camoflauge like crazy.

 

Rock


Edited by Sgt_Rock_EasyCo, 31 January 2014 - 08:29 AM.


#402 bummer

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 04:38 PM

I ets'd in 89 and I had a rip stop one. It did not have earflaps but it had a pocket flap in the top. If I can find it I will post the number. I served with 1/48th Inf at Gelnhausen from 83-85

So, seems its very much like in the german army - guess it's some kind of Nato procedure to use blousing straps. Thanks for the info!

 

Now, me and a friend of mine are currently discussing about headgear (patrol caps to be precise)  in the US Army back in the 80s. Was there a summer patrol cap ("cap, hot weather", made of RipStop material) available in the 80s yet? Or did all of you always were issued the patrol cap with the fold-out earcovers, even in summer?

 

All the "cap, hot weather" we've seen so far were made in 1994 onwards (when looked at the SPO number). We never saw a RipStop cap made prior to 1994 or with the older DLA number on the label. Can you confirm our suspicion that there was only one type of BDU patrol cap (the one with the fold-out earcovers) in the 80s?

 



#403 Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:04 PM

I had a 1st Pattern BDU Patrol Cap (two actually) and bought a third due to my small head. I purchased a 1950's green patrol cap and put a recondo tab on it and it's been stowed in my stuff. Have some Eastern Bloc items from Berlin/Germany service.

 

Rock



#404 Dominic Stefl

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 08:11 PM

 I do a 1980's 82nd airborne kit and I have the gear for being on the ground down but I was hoping to know what all you guys had when jumping and how to set it all up.



#405 Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:20 PM

Rock Pope.gif

 

If you add a ruck sack under the reserve and a weapons case on the side it would be considered a combat jump.

This uniform is for a "Hollywood" jump for USAF Training purposes and weekend fun jumps.

 


Edited by Sgt_Rock_EasyCo, 09 June 2014 - 09:21 PM.


#406 Dominic Stefl

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:57 PM

So how would I go about putting the ruck sack together ,what dose the weapon case look like, how do I assemble it all together, what uniform, and did you guys use bandoleers?



#407 Fender Rhodes

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 07:21 AM

- I read the ammo pouch for the SAW (M249) gunner changed at some point - there seem to be differences between the 80s model and the one from 90s and onward. Any idea about this item? Same seems to go for the bandolier for the SAW. Was it open-topped in the 80s or had it some kind of lid/flap on top?

 

The pouch did change slightly over the years. In recent years the little pull tab on the flap was omitted and hard plastic was inserted into the body of the pouch to give it more form. The original (pictures of which Leigh posted), had the tab and no plastic reinforcement.

 

 

- Is it correct that the SAW gunner didn't had any sidearm back in the 80s? I've always thought machine-gunner would carry some kind of pistol (it was usually the case in the German army)

 

I was never issued a side arm as a SAW gunner. We were technically, automatic riflemen, which had a different role than a machine gunner.

 

 

- I have a leg-extender for the M12 bianchi holster, which allows the holster to be carried on the leg, with an additonal 2-mag pouch above the holster. Was this item ever issued? Was it rather for officers or special forces people? I remember seeing it on George Clooney when he played the soldier in "Three Kings", but never saw it used on genuine soldiers.

 

When I was finally issued the Bianchi holster it did not come with the extender. Single magazine ammunition pouches were standard issue…but again, this was in the 90’s…

 

 

Seems this earlier type of LC-2 pouch is indeed quite rare. Maybe I'll be able to obtain some one day. As far as I was able to find out, distribution of the pouches was rather poor and many units received not enough to equip each soldier fully, so some seem to carry only one of these pouches (there are some known pics of 7th ID in Panama).

 

In my old unit we were typically issued one of the SAW pouches and two 30 round mag ALICE pouches. Some guys would pick a second one up at the local military surplus stores. I still have the one I was originally issued in 1992 and I deployed to Iraq in 2003 with it on my LBE.

 

 

I also remember being told as a "last" method to use the M16 magazines. We used them in training and a few times at the live range, but I can't recall if we had issues with them or not.

 

We were told the same thing. By the time I was issued mine in 1992, the weapon was worn out. Eight years of service and multiple deployments including Desert Storm had taken a toll on them. Broken bipods, zip ties holding the heat guard on, worn sears (= runaway gun), etc. The running joke was, “What does a SAW sound like on the range? Butter, butter, jam.” I fired one once using an M16 mag and it jammed right up. Never did it again.

 

 

Do you ever recall having issues with the Bipod legs that folded under the hand guard? The first generation SAWs that we had in the 80's, we had a terrible time with the Bipod legs always dropping out of the locked position under the hand guards. During movement, the slightest snag would drop the legs and sometimes the feet would also extend. I remember several of the bipod legs being bent and damaged because of this flaw.

 

This happened quite often, at least the bipod legs self-deploying…not so much the feet though.

 

 

Another thing I noticed on your gear, Leigh and seen on some pics is the way to carry the flashlight. I've tried to insert it into the side of the M16 pouch, but getting it out sometimes is pretty tough, as the opening is the same size as the diameter of the flashlight. Was this a usual way to carry the flashlight? I thought it usually was attached to the suspender (on the weak side as not to harm using the weapon) - but the first-aid/compass pouches were worn on that location, so maybe this was the reason for putting the flashlight into the M16 pouch?

 

We wore ours secured to the suspender strap opposite from the shooting hand, using rubber bands or spare boot blousing bands. I, and most of the Marines I served with, wore our first-aid/compass pouch on the pistol belt between the ammo pouch and the belt clip. Actually, many of us wore two, one on each side of the pistol belt buckle. One carried the compass (dummy corded to the pistol belt) and the other carried a spare bandage and cravat.

 

 

Speaking of the compass pouch: Who did carry the compass usually? Everyone or just squad/troop-leaders? I thought I read somewhere that compass were given out just like weapons and bayonets.

 

In the Marines, fire-team leaders/squad leaders and up. They were considered serialized issue items due to the tritium in them. Like Rock said, many of us went out and bought our own and used them to sharpen our land nav skills and those of our junior Marines.

 

 

In the field I rolled the bloused trouser down *over* the top of the boot so that the bloused trouser rested over the boot and kept bugs out of your trousers and boots and kept your ankles from getting bitten. It was less attractive looking but functioned well.

 

I did this my entire career. When I was a junior Marine, I used to catch shinola from the company gunny’s and first sergeants for doing it but I liked the ‘low rider’ look to it and it, as Rock stated, was comfortable and functional in the field.

 

 

So how would I go about putting the ruck sack together ,what dose the weapon case look like, how do I assemble it all together, what uniform, and did you guys use bandoleers?

 

First off, go back to page 1 and start from there. That’ll give you the basics on putting together the ruck and packing it out. Rock is a former paratrooper and should be able to help with the specifics for rigging your gear for a jump. As for the weapons case, google, “M1950 Weapons Case.”

 

 

Sorry for my delinquency in chiming in gents. Looks like Leigh and Rock covered a lot of the questions so I answered what I could.

Best,

FR



#408 Rakkasan187

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 08:23 AM

Spent some time reminiscing about my time in the service today and this old topic thread.. Nice to recall some of the experiences that we had 30 plus years ago...

 

Also wanted to give a shout out to all those members who contributed to this topic and to thank them once again for their time in service and their branch of service.. We had active Army, Marine Corps, Marine reserve, Army reserve, National Guard, Air Force and others contribute to this forum topic..

 

Thanks again everyone 

 

Leigh


Edited by Rakkasan187, 07 August 2017 - 08:25 AM.


#409 Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 06:43 AM

 I do a 1980's 82nd airborne kit and I have the gear for being on the ground down but I was hoping to know what all you guys had when jumping and how to set it all up.

 

 

Dominic,

1980's gear was LBE kit.

For inspections all gear was typically purchased at the clothing sales and was in new and unused condition. There was no 1956 gear that was allowed for inspections and all of it had to be the same as issued at CIF (Clothing Issue).

For field use, at least in my unit (2/505) there was little to no care given for what you used in the field as long as it was capable of being rigged. Our helmets had to have the airborne velcro retention straps. This M-1 was phased out but it had the rear impact pad and retention strap very similar (same as Vietnam). Once they phased into the Kevlar helmet then it had to have the airborne modifications. Rear impact pad and retention straps.

The Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) used in the field varied based upon personal preference. Often guys would carry vietnam era 56 canvas, "H Harness" suspenders, and always two canteens. It was required to carry the protective mask (gas mask) and be proficient with it. There were constant NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) exercises conducted with the NBC Decontamination kits, MOPP gear, as well as the injector kits.

My personal gear was typically nylon or h-harness suspenders, four 30 round mag pouches, two canteens, one first aid pouch on the upper left facing downward and a K Bar USMC knife on the right side. We rarely carried the bayonet because they were controlled item (needed to be cleaned and turned into the armorer). For this reason we never drew them out because we never, ever practiced bayonet training other than for riot control. Once we were done with training for riot control we had to turn our weapon and bayonet into the armorer perfectly cleaned. It was a pain in the rump.

Each person's LBE was set up for field use and personalized. In my unit, if it could be jumped out safely and you wanted to carry it, then more power to you. Guys carried hatchets, machete's, knives of all sorts, old WWII bags, butt packs etc. Most of us purchased the Large ALICE pack because the more you carried inside of it, the less was bouncing around on your legs and body. The LBE's were often set up loose, which was the style then. Old School troopers extended the length of the suspenders using 550 cord to allow more even hanging of the pistol belt. With only three points of contact, the belt would sag if loaded with ammo, water etc. With the 550 cord attached the belt would stay more level and the weight distributed more evenly. I'll try to pull out a set for you to see how it looked with the 550 cord. Many of us left our pistol belt unattached so that our ammo pouches could be splayed to the side of our body when in the prone position. The gear did flop but broken ribs or laying on ammo pouches was a pain in the neck.

Rock



#410 Rakkasan187

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 07:07 AM

Well said Rock..

 

Brings back lots of memories.. In addition to what Rock said about the LBE and the freedom we had in the field with wearing them and the gear we carried, I used to extend the waist strap of the M17 pro mask carrier so that I could hook it through the eyelet on the back of my LBE. I then took the D-ring that normally you would clip the waist and leg strap to and I would attach it to the front of the LBE using the suspender hooks. It worked quite well..

 

Leigh



#411 12A54

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 07:58 AM

Agree - good summary, Rock. (Incidentally, I did a JRTC rotation with 2/505 and maybe ypu were on that one as well.)

My LBE was modified with gutted 550 cord artaching the suspenders to the belt and replacing the (uncomfortable and heavier) metal clips. I always wore H (not Y) suspenders. And my pistol belt was an older example with the metal interlocking (M1910?) fastening buckle, not trusting plastic and hating the flat / squared metal version. I hung (again, an M1910 wire hook version) a ROK Army ammo pouch front left that had a small camera in it. Sometimes I wrapped a belt extender around the belt if I needed to quickly lengthen the belt for wear over MOPP suit or field jacket/parka/gore tex. Other mods were similar to Rock's.

Other helmet mod was to remove the metal clips from the leather sweatband and secure it to the liner with gutted 550 cord. Also to secure the elastic camo band through the helmet cover's left and right-front buttonholes with gutted 550 cord. Helmet band usually had last name on front (written with black marker or embroidered) and hash marked number of jumps on one side.


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