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


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#26 patches

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:15 PM

Well found this moving tribute posted on YT, Earl Kraay's memorial and funeral service.

 

 

  We see right at the beginning his portrait as a young PFC in the 508th RCT. So Because he served in Panama first, then Vietnam, these insignia for Vietnam, IE CIB, Jump Wings and Spec 4 Ranks, all Vietnamese Made had to be added to this particular shirt after the fact, who knows maybe by Kraay himself long after he left the Army.

 

Trying to see what unit, since he's Airborne, I'm gathering either the 173rd Abn Bde, the 1st Bde 101st Abn Div, or the 1st Bde (Abn) 1st Cav Div.



#27 HistoryNut

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:38 PM

Patches,

His wife told me about the tribute on YT, but I haven't finished watching it. Thank you for posting the tribute.

Here is the photo of him as a young PFC.

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  • IMG_2576.JPG


#28 Kadet

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:57 AM

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?

I also have to disagree about the pocket patch assessment. Like Doyler, I have a twill example that I acquired in a large WWII group, directly from the vet's daughter. He was an original 508 member. The problem with the 508 patches is that they were produced for many years in more or less the same style. IMO the WWII twill versions have slight differences from the post war types. The most obvious is the "fat" vs "skinny" devil...but there are other differences, and some post war versions have a "fat" devil. The Keller book shows some good examples of each type.



#29 patches

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 09:26 AM

There's one more possibility why these Vietnam made insignia are on this shirt. It might of been a shirt he brought along with him to Nam, never removed the 508th shoulder patch, and wore maybe a couple of times.

 

I say this as there are at least two photos floating around somewhere on the forum where unit patches for units outside Vietnam are worn on shirts In County, a 2nd Inf Div (full color I think), and one that looks very much like a subdued 7th Army, I have to try to remember where photos are.



#30 Tonomachi

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 02:51 PM

I stand corrected as based on the above information the large red devil circular patch was worn during WW2 and it would appear the same patch continued to be worn afterwards into the 1960s which is why you encounter them more often than any other WW2 era airborne pocket patches.  I found this in my reference which was probably the outfit Earl Kraay was part of in Panama.

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  • 508th RCT Merrowed Edged SSI (5).jpg

Edited by Tonomachi, 04 February 2017 - 02:52 PM.


#31 HistoryNut

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:23 PM

Tonomachi,

You are spot on regarding his unit. I met with his wife today and was able to look at and photo a few items from a scrapbook. He indeed was a member in Company C, 3rd Battalion Airborne, 508th Infantry, Fort Kobe, CZ. He was there from approximately late 1963 until late 1965. He was then sent to Vietnam and was a member of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 2nd Bde Task Force, 1966.

Here is the top of the Letter Head from a letter sent to his parents from the XO.

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  • IMG_2583.JPG


#32 HistoryNut

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:31 PM

Patches,

Seems to be a plausible conclusion. I'm sure he was very proud of his time in the 508th...maybe it was a great way to show that pride while in Country. Those are definitely some great patches! Might also explain why the Specialist insignia are in color. ??

Thanks again for everyone's help. Anybody else have a theory? :)

#33 patches

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:35 PM

Wild that you should find he was in the 25th Div, I got their 1966 yearbook, and yep, Earl is listed in the roster. as a E-4 in Co B 2/27 Inf. Whats also interesting was he was not assigned to one of the three jump status units in the RVN at that time, given that they were always shy of jump qualified EMs, especially in the 11 Infantry Series MOSs (Armor in those days shared the 11 Series, like 11E, Armor Crewman,11D  Armor Reconnaissance Specialist).


Edited by patches, 04 February 2017 - 05:41 PM.


#34 patches

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:29 PM

Finally found those photos of patches from units outside of Vietnam being worn in Vietnam. These photos were originaly posted by member DiGilio 4 1/2 years ago.

 

2nd Inf Div (South Korea) and what looks 7th Army (West Germany), consensus is that this last one is 7th Army.

 

DSCN0131.jpg 2.jpg


Edited by patches, 04 February 2017 - 07:31 PM.


#35 doyler

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 09:31 PM

Really great info.

Nice to see how the topic developed and new information has surfaced .

#36 patches

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 05:47 PM

firebase brirmingham.jpg

Here's another In Country sighting of a patch for units outside SE Asia, way outside, 7th Army again, this time in color on what looks like a flight jacket, Firebase Birmingham 101st Abn Div (ASSLT), I think 1970 or 1971. (foto from seanmc1114)


Edited by patches, 09 April 2017 - 05:48 PM.


#37 seanmc1114

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:34 AM

Here is a photo of some soldiers of the 3rd Battalion 508th Infantry in the 1967-1968 timeframe wearing the 508th RCT SSI and pocket patch.

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  • 508th Infantry.3rd Battalion.jpg



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