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Post Vietnam M-1955 Body Armor


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#1 Vpep

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:15 PM

Hello everyone and happy holidays,

I just picked up this m-1955 2nd model body armor.  It's dated 1980 and is not mint, but in reasonably good shape. The price was just so good I had to have it. Id like to use it in a veterans day display next year, so my question is were Marines using these in Beirut from 80 to 83, or had they switched completely over to the newer vest by that time? Were these worn with the RDF shirts and helmet covers? I look forward to hearing all of your input, and thanks in advance for the help.

Vic

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#2 GUDMAR1975

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:52 PM

This is the vest I used in the Marine Corps through the mid 1980s. I noticed that the Marines forward deployed to Beirut received the newer style vests a couple years earlier than the rest of us. It wasn't until I attended The Basic.School in September 1985 that I was issued the improved version.

Regarding helmets.- the Marines in Beirut and Grenada still had steel pots. I still wore a steel pot at OCS in the summer of 1985. At TBS a couple months later, I received a kelvar helmet for the first time.

I'm not sure what you mean by RDF shirts. Marines in the early 1980s wore 100% cotton woodland pattern cammouflage utilities with straight pockets. That changed mid 1980's to the the thicker 50% cotton, 50% nylon fabric type with the large "Elvis" collars. The army called them BDUs.

Helmet covers were cotton woodland cammouflage on only one side. The green side, brown side type of Marine Corps lore were gone by then if my memory serves me correctly.

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#3 Vpep

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 02:49 PM

Hi, thanks for the information.  I was referring to the straight pockets that you described in the lighter fabric.  I was scouring the web, and I did find only one photo of a Marine standing in front of the destroyed barracks wearing this vest. Every other picture I found, the Marines were wearing the improved vest. The rest of his uniform was just as you described with the M-1 helmet with the one sided helmet cover and what looked like the all cotton camo shirt. Thanks for the help, this will make a very display in November.



#4 Cap Camouflage Pattern I

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 04:10 PM

I had no idea these vests with the covered pocket buttons and one shoulder rope were made so late. Why did they go back from the "3rd model"?

#5 Vpep

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 04:56 PM

I don't know if they changed back as much as produced them side by side.  But I never understood that either, because why would they continue to produce outdated models when they were producing new ones at the same time.  Maybe it was a case of some manufacturers not getting contracts with updated specs.



#6 beezman

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 02:42 PM

What collectors call 3rd model are actually 1st and 2nd models damaged in Vietnam and overhauled by private companies in Okinawa during the war. The damaged cotton shells were replaced by sturdier nylon shells. These were just an interim wartime measure, because 1st and 2nd models ripped easily on the battlefield. 3rd models were never produced in the US.

#7 Cap Camouflage Pattern I

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 07:15 PM

Really? That's super neat. Why did they have two shoulder ropes but later us made ones don't?

Edited by Cap Camouflage Pattern I, 28 December 2018 - 07:15 PM.



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