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508th Abn Regimental Combat Team Uniform - Panama and Vietnam Service


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#1 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:42 AM

I purchased this patched shirt and patches directly from the widow of the veteran. According to her, after high school graduation in 1963 he joined the Army. Upon completion of training he served 2 years in Panama and was then sent to Vietnam. After Vietnam he went on to become a Naval Flight Officer flying in both the F-4 and F-14. He retired in 1992.

I must admit I absolutely love the theater made gold on brown Specialist insignia patches. I've personally never seen the brown twill before. I would love to know thoughts about the patches and insignia and where they were made. As you can see, the 508th RCT patch is embroidery on twill...another style I have never seen.

Thank you for looking and any information you can share on the patches.

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#2 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:43 AM

Great looking CIB.

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#3 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:44 AM

Embroidery on twill.

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#4 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:46 AM

Specialist insignia.

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#5 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:47 AM

Red Devil pocket patches.

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#6 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:48 AM

Reverse side and last photo.

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#7 Tonomachi

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 01:14 PM

Great uniform which clears up some things concerning 508th PIR or 508th Infantry (Airborne) insignia.  I have seen these red devil circular patch advertised as WW2 period before which I always doubted as I always felt it was worn like here on your uniform as a pocket patch on OG-107 OD fatigues during the 60s and maybe 50s.  I believe the only WW2 circular 508th PIR pocket patch is the one on wool and I'm not 100% sure about this as well.  Your uniform has a mixture of US and SVN made insignia.  The CIB, Specialist 4 rank insignia (never seen before) as well as the two loose white on OD paratrooper wings are all SVN made.  What is really interesting about your uniform is the 508th Infantry (Airborne) shoulder sleeve patch.  It is the rarer one with the merrowed edge and I've always wondered if the accompanying airborne tab was cut edge or merrowed edge.  It looks like your uniform has answered this as it was worn with a cut edged airborne tab and thanks again for sharing this as it clears up some things for me.

 

Is the white label still present or washed out maybe?


Edited by Tonomachi, 03 February 2017 - 01:15 PM.


#8 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:29 PM

Tonomachi,

Thank you very much for your informative reply! I'm glad the uniform was able to answer some questions for you. Unfortunately, the white label is long gone.

Has anybody out there seen Specialist rank insignia (gold on brown) like these?

Thanks to everyone for looking.

#9 gomorgan

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:00 PM

I've never seen Spec 4 stripes like these in country made examples



#10 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:20 PM

Great uniform which clears up some things concerning 508th PIR or 508th Infantry (Airborne) insignia.  I have seen these red devil circular patch advertised as WW2 period before which I always doubted as I always felt it was worn like here on your uniform as a pocket patch on OG-107 OD fatigues during the 60s and maybe 50s.  I believe the only WW2 circular 508th PIR pocket patch is the one on wool and I'm not 100% sure about this as well.  Your uniform has a mixture of US and SVN made insignia.  The CIB, Specialist 4 rank insignia (never seen before) as well as the two loose white on OD paratrooper wings are all SVN made.  What is really interesting about your uniform is the 508th Infantry (Airborne) shoulder sleeve patch.  It is the rarer one with the merrowed edge and I've always wondered if the accompanying airborne tab was cut edge or merrowed edge.  It looks like your uniform has answered this as it was worn with a cut edged airborne tab and thanks again for sharing this as it clears up some things for me.

 

Is the white label still present or washed out maybe?

 

 

Here is one I have from a vet.D-Day,Holland,Bulge,Germany.Never served after WW2.Watched him take it all out of a cigar box from a file cabinet the day it was obtained.

 

I have another from a 508th Pathfinder as well.Both are cloth and not wool.

 

post-342-0-72826900-1411610776.jpg



#11 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:23 PM

Link to a couple others

 

The one on the suit is also twill not wool.Had this in hand a few times

 

http://www.usmilitar...8-pir-question/



#12 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 05:11 PM

Im not sure he would or could have graduated in 1963 and been in the 508 ARCT the time period when this patch was worn as the 508th ARCT was deactivated 22 March 1957.The 508th ARCT did not see action in Korea or Viet Nam.

 

The 508th ACRT did spend some time in Japan but returned to Ft.Campbell some time in 1956.

 

Their WW2 predecessor the 508th PIR was inactivated 25 November 1946 at Camp Kilmer New Jersey.When Korea was heating up there were several units reactivated for possible use in theatre and national mobile reserve and the 508th Airborne Infantry was designated and activated at Ft.Bragg on 16 April 1951.They were assigned the lineage of the WW2 508th PIR.They took their Airborne training at Fort Benning from May through June 1951 and their infantry training at Benning from June through December 1951.Later there were  additional units assinged and this comprimised the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.


Edited by doyler, 03 February 2017 - 05:21 PM.


#13 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 06:18 PM

Doyler,

Thank you kindly for the information, link and the photos of your collection...it is very nice!!

After reading the description below, would a more accurate description be 3-508th Infantry uniform? It states the 3-508th Infantry served as an Airborne Battalion in Panama. His wife is certain he spent 2 years in Panama as an airborne troop before going to Vietnam. His obituary states he was a Forward Observer in the Infantry during his time in Vietnam.

If the above is all true, when do you think he would have wore this uniform?

Again, thank you for your willingness to help.

The following information was found on line:

When the Army abandoned the Pentomic battle group structure in the early 1960s, the 508th reorganized under the Combat Arms Regimental System as a parent regiment and at the same time was renamed the 508th Infantry. Within the 82d Airborne Division, the former Company A, 508th PIR was reorganized and re-designated as HHC, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry, an element of the 3d Brigade. The former Company B, 508th PIR was reactivated as HHC, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry, part of the 1st Brigade. The 1st and 2d Battalions, 508th Infantry continued to serve in the 82d Airborne Division. They served in Operation Powerpack in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and 1966.

When the 3d Brigade was sent to Vietnam in response to the Tet Offensive in early 1968, 1-508th accompanied it. There it took part of the heavy fighting of Huế and the Tet counteroffensives. It was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. From 8 August 1962 to 26 June 1968, the lineage of Co C, 508 PIR was reactivated as HHC, 3-508th INF, and the unit served as an airborne battalion within the 193d Infantry Brigade in Panama. When the Airborne component of the battalion was reduced to a single company (Co A), the battalion was reflagged as the 3d Battalion, 5th Infantry.

#14 KurtA

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 06:47 PM

Those SPEC4 chevrons are great.  I've seen plenty of subdued VN-made example, but never color. 



#15 patches

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 06:48 PM

We see no combat patch, but It would seem he was in Vietnam first, then Panama, hence the CIB, wouldn't of course get one serving in the Canal Zone. Any idea on what unit he was in in Vietnam and when, like maybe 1965 and that 1963 date is wrong?

 

Here's more info on the Vietnam Era 508th Inf (Abn).

 

http://www.usmilitar...h-airborne-rct/



#16 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:08 PM

Yes the 82nd had troops there(Viet Nam) but not the full division.the Brigade was arrived February 15th 1968 to Chu Lai.Several more days to get the 3650 men of the Brigade to Chu Lai.Once there it was discoverd the bulk of the brigade did not meet the requirment to be overseas combat deployed and  over 2500 troops volunteered to return to Ft.Bragg.This left a serious shortage so there was an influx of personel into the brigade that were not airborne qualified.Once organized there were 15 units that composed/assigned to the brigade.1st and 2nd Bn 505th,1st Bn 508th,

B Trp 1st Sq (ABN)17th Cav,2nd Bn 321(Abn)Artillery,MP,Asa,518 MI,82nd Aviation Bn(Abn),82nd Support Bn,58th Signal,307th Engineer(Abn),MP,) O Company Ranger,37thInf Detch.(Dog Handler) etc

 

THis is all well detailed in the USA AIRBORNE 50th Anniversary book.

 

As far as I know the 508th wore the 82nd patch at the times quoated in your reply.

 

I have a good friend who was in the Dominican Republic and he wore the 82nd patch while assigned.

 

Same in Vietnam.Th 82nd patch was worn and as far as I know the 508th ARCT wore the patch with the blue wyvern in it and wasnt worn after the unit was inactivated.



#17 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:09 PM

Thank you, KurtA! They definitely have that "cool" factor.

Patches,

I had the very same thoughts as you. I know things can get confused over the years, but she is certain he went to Panama first and then to Vietnam. His obituary states the same thing. I don't know his unit in Vient Nam, but I can give her a call and see if she remembers anything. I do know the patched shirt is original and unmessed with. It hadn't been out of the families hands until I purchased it last night.

Taken from his obituary:
After graduating from Borah High in 1963, he enlisted in the Army and became a paratrooper for two years in Panama. From there, he and three army buddies volunteered to go to Vietnam, where he was forward observer in the infantry.
Returning from Vietnam, Earl attended Boise College and graduated in 1970. He married Carol Millensifer in 1970. In 1971 he attended Navy OCS in Pensacola, where he earned his wings of gold as a Naval Flight Officer. Earl flew fighter jets, the F-4 Phantom and the F-14 Tomcat, deploying to the Mediterranean out of NAS Oceana, Virginia. Shore duty took the Kraays to Upstate New York, Pensacola, San Diego and Juneau, Alaska where he retired in 1992.

#18 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:19 PM

Those SPEC4 chevrons are great.  I've seen plenty of subdued VN-made example, but never color. 

 

 

Im wondering if we are not seeing Japanese/Okinawa made insignia?

 

Appears the CIB is done on hbt as well.

 

Im no expert but I havent ever seen a 508th ARCT patch worn in Vietnam and not aware any of the unit were early advisors there that would fit the wearing of th patch.

 

Maybe the ASMIC crowd will have more info on the wear of the patch but from my source the unit was inactivated prior to any involvement in Vietnam by the 508th which wasnt unitl 68 Feb.


Edited by doyler, 03 February 2017 - 07:25 PM.


#19 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:21 PM

Doyler,

I just don't know...a bit perplexing. All I know for sure is this shirt has never been in the hands of anyone other than the family until last night when I purchased it. I will check with the veteran's wife to see if she has any documentation (DD-214) stating his service during his Army career. It looks like he just served one enlistment....approximately 63 - 67.

I guess anything else I added would be an assumption or theory.

Thanks again for all the information.

#20 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:29 PM

Doyler,

Looks like l'm posting at the same time as you. Lol

I'm really out of my element when it comes to patches and where they are made. What do you mean that it looks like the I is done on HBT?

Are the pocket patches and the 508th patch American made?

Perhaps as you say, someone else may chime it and clear things up. Thanks again for all your help!

Edited by HistoryNut, 03 February 2017 - 07:30 PM.


#21 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:29 PM

A bit of a mystery but a great shirt.

 

Another thing comes to mind.Wonder if he had a older brother?...maybe not?



#22 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:31 PM

Doyler,

He was an only child.

#23 patches

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:35 PM

Doyler,

I just don't know...a bit perplexing. All I know for sure is this shirt has never been in the hands of anyone other than the family until last night when I purchased it. I will check with the veteran's wife to see if she has any documentation (DD-214) stating his service during his Army career. It looks like he just served one enlistment....approximately 63 - 67.

I guess anything else I added would be an assumption or theory.

Thanks again for all the information.

Yeah it's muddled alright, like there's no such animal as Infantry Forward Observer, which would of fell under the Infantry 11 series MOS, there was a position under 11 B called SCOUT OBSERVER, just a regular infantryman like a guy how was say assigned as a M60 gunner.

 

There are of course Forward Observers in the Artillery, but he wasn't Arty.

 

I,m going to send you a PM.



#24 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:41 PM

I know obits can be often incorrect or lacking of details..I have seen even familiy ones that were wrong in my own family.Heck,my sister even wrote the one or her daughter wrote it for our mom and got a thing wrong.So much for letting the rest of us see it or read it prior. :rolleyes: Even newspapers mess them up.



#25 doyler

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:44 PM

Doyler,

He was an only child.

 

Thanks.

 

I really think its a great shirt and variation of the patch.Typically you see the common cut edge.I have seen a couple Japanese ones as well as a cool shooting jacket once that was sold out from under me after the guy agreed to sell it to me.The vet was on the rifle Team in Japan.




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