While the majority of this material is included in the book, I have mentioned to other forum members that Craig and I had to cut a lot of excess material to meet the publisher's requirements. A lot of the research into the development of the different load-carrying systems made it into the book, but the contracting and manufacturing portions (as well as anecdotes gleaned along the way) had to be cut. I figured I would start with posting the development and contracting research I had amassed pertaining to the history of the nylon one-quart water canteen cover. Mainly because the topic of nylon water canteen covers comes up frequently on the forum. Hopefully this research will assist others in easier identification of the different nylon water canteen covers.
14 JANUARY 1966 - Based on the single set of nylon M-1956 Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (LLCE) constructed in 1962, six (6) new complete sets of the nylon M-1956 LLCE were constructed by Natick Laboratories and sent to Vietnam for testing (under ENSURE 148). Three (3) of the nylon water canteen covers (included in the complete sets) featured a unique single flap cover secured by the plastic "quick-release" fastener (as used on the small arms ammunition cases) while the other three (3) nylon water canteen covers were of "standard" design (basically a nylon version of the M-1956 LCE water canteen cover). It is unknown how these trial items were marked, if marked at all. I have yet to find an image of the nylon single-flap water canteen cover or of the other three "standard design" nylon water canteen covers.
1 JANUARY 1967 THROUGH 13 APRIL 1967 - Due to the positive reaction of the six (6) sets of nylon M-1956 LLCE, an additional 550 complete sets were requested (1 January), completed, and shipped to Vietnam (13 April) for further testing. The nylon water canteen covers for these sets were identical to the three "standard" nylon water canteen covers from the 14 January 1966 sets. The major difference was that 2024-T4 aluminum belt-strap keepers were utilized on the nylon water canteen covers (instead of the standard steel versions). During evaluation, it was found that the aluminum belt-strap keepers broke too easily. These nylon water canteen covers had plastic snap fasteners, water purification tablet pocket, and no drain hole. It is unknown how these trial items were marked, if marked at all.
Below is the "official" Natick Laboratories image of one of the 550 sets of nylon M-1956 LLCE, showing the nylon water canteen cover (the second "enlarged" image was originally scanned by Craig). This image is often erroneously labeled as being of the “M-1967” Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment because it first “officially” appeared in the 15 August 1970 dated TM 10-276 Hot Weather Clothing and Equipment technical manual, even though it shows the trial individual equipment belt suspenders, intrenching tool carrier, etc.! Further, in this technical manual, the individual equipment system is still designated Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (even though the “M-1967” term is adopted in June 1970) AND the system is NEVER referred to by the United States Armed Forces (in this technical manual, or any technical or field manual for that fact) as Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE). This term for the system was completely FABRICATED by Gordon Rottman and never existed in use by the United States Armed Forces.
10 JULY 1967 - After evaluations and trials were finished, of the 550 sets of nylon M-1956 LLCE, USARV requested that the nylon M-1956 LLCE be standardized with some improvements to some of the components. The nylon water canteen cover was classified Limited Procurement Type, on 10 July 1967, as per the requirements of Natick Laboratories Limited Production Purchase Description LP/P.DES 15-67. No military specifications for the Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover were ever drafted due to the item being manufactured for a limited (finite) period of time to meet the immediate requirements of USARV.
The Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover was assigned the nomenclature COVER, WATER CANTEEN, NYLON and the Federal Stock Number 8465-860-0256 (on 11 October 1967). The Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover is often (actually all the time) erroneously called a "M-1967" water canteen cover, even though the M-1967 designation was not adopted until June 1970, AFTER this nylon water canteen cover was cancelled due to it being limited procurement, which is defined as "Classification used when a materiel item is required for special use for a limited time, and the specified limited quantity will be procured without intent of additional procurement of the item under this classification. It is used to meet urgent operational requirements that cannot be satisfied by an item type classified standard.”
The Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover utilized the MIL-F-43573 plastic snap fasteners (on the flaps), a water purification tablet pocket with hook and loop pile closure (on the front left side), no drain hole at the bottom, and four lines of reinforcement stitching to the front.
Manufacturing contracts, for the Limited Procurement Type COVER, WATER CANTEEN, NYLON, were let ONLY during FY1968 and FY1969. The following are the only known manufacturing contracts for the Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover:
DSA100-68-C-1680: was awarded to LA CROSSE GARMENT MFG CO (CAGE Code 5B918) of Mauston, Wisconsin. The contract was let in February 1968 (third quarter of FY1968) with an estimated completion date of November 1968. The contract was renegotiated in April 1968 with a new estimated completion date of December 1968.
DSA100-68-C-2766: was also awarded to LA CROSSE GARMENT MFG CO of Mauston, Wisconsin. The contract was let in June 1968 (fourth quarter of FY1968) with an estimated completion date of December 1968.
BELOW: the two (2) FY1968 contract dated Limited Procurement Type COVER, WATER CANTEEN, NYLON showing both Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PII or “contract number”) along with the plastic snap fastener detail. These nylon water canteen covers are part of the Limited Procurement Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (LLCE) system:
DSA100-69-C-0259: was awarded to CARLETON MFG CO (CAGE Code 16830) of Carleton, Michigan. The contract was let in August 1968 (first quarter of FY1969) with an estimated completion date of April 1969.
BELOW: the FY1969 contract dated Limited Procurement Type COVER, WATER CANTEEN, NYLON as manufactured by CARLETON MFG CO. CARLETON utilized a script-type font (center of image) for the US marking on the front (instead of a normal block-type font), thus the FY1969 contract dated Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen covers are easily distinguishable from the FY1968 contract dated production because of this. On the left (in the image) is a printing variation (on the back) where it appears the Procurement Instrument Identifier (PII or “contract number”) was added at the bottom after the fact. On the right (in the image) are three (3) examples (from three (3) different lots) showing the normal markings found on the FY1969 contract dated Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen covers. This nylon water canteen cover is part of the Limited Procurement Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (LLCE) system:
JULY 1969 - While the Lightweight Individual Clothing And Equipment (LINCLOE) Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) portion, of the overall LINCLOE program, had begun nearly three years earlier, not a lot of time had been spent developing the load-carrying equipment items for the system. In July 1969 the test items (later (retroactively) termed by Natick Laboratories as the "first generation LINCLOE LCE") had been completed and evaluations of the system commenced. The nylon water canteen cover to be utilized for evaluation was the same as the Limited Procurement Type (with plastic snap fasteners, water purification tablet pocket, and no drain hole) but instead of metal belt-strap keepers, newly developed plastic belt-strap keepers were to be trialed.
I have seen five (5) of these 1969 trial LINCLOE LCE nylon water canteen covers and all five (5) were identical in design to the Limited Procurement Type nylon water canteen cover. All five (5) were marked (on the front) with the U.S. identification marking with periods after the U and S. On the rear the covers are marked with the word COVER (on the first line) and WATER CANTEEN (on the second line). I have observed one with the "set number" written on it in the typical yellow ink (that one was featured in the book), while another one had a "large grommet" drain hole added for trial purposes.
BELOW: the “first generation” 1969 trial LINCLOE LCE nylon water canteen cover with the trial plastic belt-strap keepers: