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KIA clothing reissued


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#1 albatrosdva

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 02:27 PM

Does anyone know how KIA uniform items came to be reissued. Did the uniforms not go home to family in their personal effects? I bought a tunic on ebay for my 4th ESB project because it had several correct patches so I would not have to replace some. However, when I looked up the name that had been crossed out on the uniform it turns out he was in the 26th Division, 101st Inf Regt and was KIA in November 1944. He never was in service for three years, he obviously was not discharged, and he certainly never made it to the pacific so these patches have been added for whoever the jacket was reissued (whose name did not come with the jacket). You can see the sewing holes from his Yankee Division patch and his PFC stripes. An interesting piece. Since I do not know who used the jacket after him I have no qualms against replacing the disks with infantry since I know his unit and have no ID on the next owner. I had thought to put the PFC stripes and YD patch on but I believe that would be too intrusive and it would probably be best to leave it alone. I have a pair of PFC patches. I may have a YD patch somewhere. I think I will put them in his pocket as a memory of what it was. Any of you all have any thoughts?

 

https://www.findagra...m-wayne-carlton

 

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#2 MattS

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 02:46 PM

Maybe he turned in this 4-pocket and got an Ike late in 44 just before he was killed? 



#3 albatrosdva

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 02:59 PM

I didn't know that was an option. I just thought you were issued what you wore and you kept wearing it until they told you not to. I guess it makes sense there is some choice with all the private purchase you find out there



#4 MattS

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 03:20 PM

It was called DX'ing (Direct Exchange) when I was in. A sergeant may say, "DX that helmet", which meant turn in your old/damaged one and get a new one. 

Most 4-pocket coats weren't worn much and were still in good shape so it makes sense (to me anyway) they would be turned in and exchanged for Ikes.

I have one 4-pocket that has 4 different names and/or laundry numbers in it so they did get reissued. 



#5 copper252

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 04:09 PM

I would say he turned in his coat before he went overseas. He would have never had a ike with being KIA in Nov 1944.



#6 Allan H.

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 05:52 PM

Let's see if we can give you some insight about WWII uniform issues...

 

Uniforms to enlisted personnel are government property and they are issued out in basic training. When a soldier needed a new shirt, tie, trousers, boots, etc., they had to turn the used pieces of clothing in to supply in order for the supply NCO to issue a new piece of clothing. 

 

Uniform pieces in combat were exchanged for clean uniforms at a clothing exchange and bath point. Soldiers would come in to the point, strip naked and take a shower. They would then proceed to a clothing issue point where they would receive replacement uniforms. 

 

Soldiers deploying to a combat zone would have two duffle bags- an "A" bag and a "B" bag. The "A" bag was used to hold important personal and issue items that were of the most importance to a soldier. This is where extra fatigues, all of the soldiers' socks and underwear, and other items that a soldier might need that don't fit into the combat pack go. Items like Dress uniforms like the four pocket that started the thread would have gone in a "B" bag which would have spent a lot of time in storage at the regiment or division level. The only times that the "B" bag would come out was when soldiers were heading back to the rear areas for rest, or refitting. 

 

When a soldier died, was killed, or taken POW, all of the soldier's items would be inventoried by an officer and an NCO (usually). All personal items would be segregated and placed in a bag. All of the issue items would be returned to the supply system, but first, they would be sent to a Quartermaster unit that would launder the items and then evaluate the uniforms for appearance and serviceability. Items with tears, holes, missing buttons etc. would be sent to a renovation point where the clothing would be reworked to make it serviceable for another soldier.

 

There are a couple of things to remember. In WWII, virtually all clothing was washed in hot water. Even wool items would be laundered. Some clothing would shrink. After the items dried, they would be checked for size accuracy. This is you would will see jackets with a 38R size label and an ink stamp reading a smaller size like 37S. When that happened, the jacket would be reissued under the newly identified size. MOST used clothing would be issued with a "combat serviceable" tag, meaning that it was not supposed to be re-issued as a component of a dress uniform. Another thing done at the clothing reclamation point would be to line through any names, service numbers or even laundry marks, so that there would be no confusion that the new owner might not be the rightful owner of the piece of clothing.

 

In the case of the jacket that started this thread, the first owner PROBABLY turned the blouse in for a new one PRIOR to leaving the US. I would find it very unusual for a jacket to have traveled to the ETO and then to be shipped back to the Pacific later. There would have been plenty of need for uniforms in the ETO.

 

Finally, as soldiers were getting out of the military, they would go to separation centers to be processed for discharge. One of the last steps prior to discharge is that all soldiers were issued new clothing IF THEY NEEDED IT> only one dress uniform would have been issued. This is where the jacket was probably issued to the soldier who went home wearing it.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Allan



#7 patches

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 07:50 PM

I recall reading in a book I used to have long time ago, that uniform items actually worn by dead and wounded in the field could be reissued. This was at various large field hospitals this happened apparently, items removed from bodies of dead, items removed from wounded before they went into surgery. One commented that these items were cleaned (I guess as best as possible with the blood) and any tears or rents were sewn, IE that well known Quartermaster Zig Zag sewing machine stitching, and sent to a QM Dump, this was related to France and Germany, do not know if it was the same in Italy or the Pacific. It was also mentioned that any Front Line GI who had one of these issued out to him, particularly OD Wool Shirts, and suspected this, considered it bad luck, and would not wear it.



#8 patches

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:13 PM

I recall reading in a book I used to have long time ago, that uniform items actually worn by dead and wounded in the field could be reissued. This was at various large field hospitals this happened apparently, items removed from bodies of dead, items removed from wounded before they went into surgery. One commented that these items were cleaned (I guess as best as possible with the blood) and any tears or rents were sewn, IE that well known Quartermaster Zig Zag sewing machine stitching, and sent to a QM Dump, this was related to France and Germany, do not know if it was the same in Italy or the Pacific. It was also mentioned that any Front Line GI who had one of these issued out to him, particularly OD Wool Shirts, and suspected this, considered it bad luck, and would not wear it.

Items I would gather obviously would also have to be items that weren't totally shot up and or torn up and saturated with blood and could be rendered serviceable for reissue. Other items I would imagine apart from web gear and helmets that would be reissued, would be boots and leggings, in the case of leggings, these too would have to be cleaned and if need be repaired if soldier received leg or ankle wounds.



#9 patches

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 08:42 PM

Items I would gather obviously would also have to be items that weren't totally shot up and or torn up and saturated with blood and could be rendered serviceable for reissue. Other items I would imagine apart from web gear and helmets that would be reissued, would be boots and leggings, in the case of leggings, these too would have to be cleaned and if need be repaired if soldier received leg or ankle wounds.

As Allan H mentioned in his quote, all the above items I would imagine got either a CS Tag or a CS stencil down the line at the QM dump.



#10 Rhscott

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 01:46 AM

BTW, your brass is backwards.....the "US is always right".

#11 MattS

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 03:34 AM

I would say he turned in his coat before he went overseas. He would have never had a ike with being KIA in Nov 1944.

 

So would soldiers get issued another 4-pocket coat and have the patches and rank insignia sewn on again when they got overseas? Seems inefficient. 



#12 albatrosdva

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 04:02 AM

I didn't realize about the hot water washing. The jacket was just a month old when he enlisted in December 1942 so it seems likely he was a 39 and turned it in when it shrank down to a 37. Very interesting.

#13 Allan H.

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 04:49 AM

I think I should clarify a couple of points as I was just kind of glossing over the information that I was trying to convey and not trying to make for an incredibly long read. To answer questions about uniform items worn by killed and wounded..... If a soldier was killed in action, the uniform items were typically not removed from the body. The body would be placed in a mattress cover and the end of the cover tied up to keep items from spilling out of the bag. Any clothing recovered with the body, such as in a pack, would be turned in as unit property and sent to the quartermaster laundry. Items of clothing with bullet and shrapnel holes and blood would have typically been BURNED in the field. This was also the stated procedure for field hospitals and other medical stations. Yes, I'm sure there were times when clothing was in short supply where items would be scrounged, but the QM would not have issued uniforms with blood, bullet holes, etc. in them. Even in combat, clothing was thoroughly washed and renovated prior to being reissued.

 

Images of bloody boots, jackets, trousers etc. laying outside of hospital tents for immediate reissue is more of a Civil War thing or a Hollywood contrivance. It is not how things typically happened in WWII and after.

 

Allan



#14 BILL THE PATCH

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 10:27 AM

I know this is a movie( 1948 battleground), which seems to based on true events. Isn't there a scene where there is a big pile of boots, and guys were going trough them?, I know it's a movie but I think the advisers were all vets of the 101st. Maybe I'm wrong

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#15 Allan H.

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 10:48 AM

As I said earlier, there are going to be situations that go outside of the normal methods in WWII and other wars as well. In "Battleground," the troopers are surrounded and making a stand in and around Bastogne. The troops would have to use whatever methods they could to get the uniforms and equipment that they needed. The "normal" route would have been for the boots etc. to go through a renovation unit and to be evaluated as to serviceability and then issued.

 

One interesting tidbit about "combat serviceable" uniforms and equipment is that there were actually two grades of "combat serviceable" in that the lesser grade was reserved for use by "colored" troops which also included the Nisei of the 442nd RCT. The terminology that I am using is how it was classified by the US Army in WWII and should not be construed as a term that I would personally use. Obviously, this form of racial segregation is at a minimum unethical and repugnant. 1945 was a different time though....

 

Allan



#16 themick

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 09:52 PM

Watch the "Battle of San Pietro" directed by John Houston, 1944, a documentary of that battle.  It clearly shows, as do some other documentaries, of dead Americans being slipped into the mattress covers with their combat uniforms, including M-41 field jackets, though without the equipment.  So, the idea the bodies were stripped of clothing is inaccurate.  

 

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#17 sgtpeter

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Posted 29 September 2019 - 07:33 PM

Can't remember which book it is now, but I remember reading a biography written by an ETO replacement. He talks about his first detail when he gets to Europe is go through a warehouse in France filled with baggage of casualties. They separated the issued clothing and equipment for return to circulation. Personal items were placed in a bags presumably for return to next of kin.

 

Peter



#18 Major Z

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 07:49 AM

Can't remember which book it is now, but I remember reading a biography written by an ETO replacement. He talks about his first detail when he gets to Europe is go through a warehouse in France filled with baggage of casualties. They separated the issued clothing and equipment for return to circulation. Personal items were placed in a bags presumably for return to next of kin.

 

Peter

 

Here's an article about the Effects Depot you are referring to: https://www.qmfound....ffects-depot-2/



#19 Paul70

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 12:21 PM

4 pockets were reissued to Pacific units a lot. I have two with names traced to the 36th ID and 38th Engineer then to Pacific vets. I would assume it was when they received their Ikes. 

 

i believe the memoir was "Before Their Time" referred to.




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