Completely agree with this post by NS13 Jarhead. I joined in '91 and the gear was almost exactly as described.
Bayonets were serialized gear and not always issued to us. Most of us had private purchase K-Bars in black or brown scabbards. I believe my first one was black.
I started out on the M16A2 and carried two 30rd mag pouches, but when I got assigned to a SAW, I carried one SAW mag pouch and two 30rd mag pouches (SAW pouch on the left, 2 mag pouches on the right). The rest of the belt and harness was pretty standard. Had my strobe light and LC2 first aid/compass pouch (with pressure bandage) on the left strap of my 'Y' harness (I'm a righty shooter so I didn't want anything on the right shoulder strap of my harness). I used to slide the pouches as far away from my midsection as possible. When going to the prone position, landing on fully loaded mag pouches isn't terribly comfortable.
Carried a M1956 Buttpack on the back center of my pistol belt and later got a nylon one. Kept the first aid kit attached to the left side of the buttpack. Two 1-quart canteens in their carriers flanked the buttpack. The right side one had my canteen cup. Had a second LC1 first aid/compass pouch on the left side of my pistol belt, near the buckle. This had my dummy corded compass and a second pressure bandage (bullets tend to leave an entry and exit wound).
We were issued medium ALICE packs, but being that I was an RTO for a while (before I got assigned to the SAW), I bought my own large ALICE ruck and frame. If we were going to be humping a lot, I'd usually remove the buttpack so my pack frame would fit flush on my waist and not ride on top buttpack and grind it into my lower back (the buttpack got placed in the pack flap, first aid kit attached to the top left side of the ruck). I can't remember ever taking a shelter half into the field after boot camp. If we had time, we could rig a poncho shelter with 550 cord, but yes, we just slept out under the stars, wrapped in a poncho liner. The 'cho liner was one of mankind's greatest inventions...ever.
The buttpack usually had clean socks in a zip lock bag, a rat-f**ked MRE, small flashlight (mini Maglite back then) and some survival gear in a taped up plastic soap dish (swiss army knife, waterproof matches, signal mirror, fishing hooks and line, 12ft of 550 cord...all private purchase).
If it was going to be cold, we took sleeping bags and they were generally put into a WP bag because if they got wet, they'd weigh about eleventy billion pounds and took 17 years to dry out.
Spare set of cammies and skivvies were usually put in zip lock bags in the ruck main compartment, down at the bottom. We typically packed the things we needed the most or would use most frequently at the top of the ruck and the extra crapola at the bottom.
E-tool typically got attached to the left side of the ruck and the 2-quart canteen, if we were issued them, would be on the right. I went out and bought doubles of most of the gear. One set was the Corps' and was kept nice and clean for JOB inspections and my private purchase stuff was for the field. Plus stuff would get lost or 'permanently borrowed' by someone and it always helped to have backups. "Gear that's adrift is gear that's a gift!"
M17 Gas Mask carrier was worn on the left side (again, I'm a righty). We got cleaning kits but no bipods. The cleaning kit typically ended up in the buttpack or rucksack flap pocket. I got a pistol belt extender later on so I wouldn't have to monkey with my belt when we wore kevlar flak vests. The kevlar helmets were standard by then and we all bought padded rings to put in them for comfort.
Maps, notebooks, SOI, second signalling mirror, all went in the top two pockets of my cammie blouse. Almost never used the lower pockets. If we were in the field, I used a OD triangular bandage as a sweat rag around my neck...unless the first sergeant was around. If he saw them, he'd yell at us and ask us if we thought we were "back in the 'Nam." Then they would be disappeared until he left the area and went back to his comfy office (while we were in the field of course!).
I wore green issue jungle boots almost all the time. I really didn't like the issue leather boots and only wore them if we were ordered to.
I had great squad leader when I joined. He was a Root vet and taught me a lot about fighting from 'levels'. Basically from the ruck to the harness to the pockets. Essentially be prepared to drop everything and fight and survive from your pockets. I'm pretty sure his brother was Marine veteran of Vietnam and taught him a lot of tricks, which he passed down to us, his 'squad babies.'
I was blessed to have great NCOs and officers when I was a junior Marine. They taught me how to live in the field and a lot of those lessons remain with me today.
Thanks for the nostalgic walk down memory lane.
In the USMC it mostly depended on the mission or on the location/duration of the operation. Always wore cartridge belt and H-harness with two 3-magazine pouches for M-16 (enlisted) or two 9mm ammo pouches and holster (officer), two 1 qt canteens (with NBC cap), 1st aid kit. Sometime also had a butt pack in the center rear of the belt where I carried change of socks & skivvies and a deconstructed meal (C-Rat or MRE). Most of the other stuff was carried in the ALICE pack. But we kept 24 hours worth of essentials on the belt and attached it to the flak jacket in case we had to ditch the pack for some reason.
- PASGT vests started being issued - No idea, but the first one I wore was 1985 (I wore the plate armor ones from 1980-1985)
- Bayonets - Always carried it on the cartridge belt, left side, ring forward. As an officer I carried a Ka-Bar in its place.
- poncho with poncho liner or just the sleeping bag or both - Depends, most times it was poncho+liner. For longer duration ops (1 month+) or a training hike, I'd take the sleeping bag.
- shelter halves - Used it in Boot Camp in 1980, Korea in 1982 and at The Basic School in 1988, other than that I usually slept under the stars or in GP-Medium. If carried, it would be near the top of the ALICE pack to help act as waterproofing.
- BDU's - Usually one spare set
- underwear - One or two extras
- undershirts - One or two extras
- socks - Two or three pair
- towels and washcloths - Usually just a small brown/green cotton towel
- Also always carried the E-Tool attached to the side of the ALICE pack.
- And we always carried the M-17 gas mask in a leg carry on the left side.
Never saw or used an M-16 bipod, but the cleaning kit always fit nicely in the hatch in the buttstock of the rifle.
Edited by Fender Rhodes, 25 June 2013 - 03:09 AM.