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post WWII, 50's & 60's US Air Force uniform photos

Started by Bob Hudson , May 29 2007 02:27 PM

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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:27 PM

I have noticed that there are very few photos online of the US Air Force personnel and uniforms from the early days of the service. There's lots of Army Air Force and a fair amount of modern USAF but not much of the early days. If we can get enough photos we might break them out into categories but for now let's see what we can come up with and provide create a reference source for early USAF uniforms.

I'll start with a 1949 USAF jacket:

Posted ImagePosted Image

#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:32 PM

This photo is seen in various places on the web and it's one of my favorite USAF photos: the 1956 summer uniform with khaki shorts:

afshorts.jpg

As noted on the Air Force Association website at http://www.afa.org/m...691splendor.asp, the summer uniform also included long pants and the bush coat:

Posted Image

#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 03:05 PM

Here are two photos from 1952 and 1953 of WAF's ("Women in the Air Force," a distinction that was dropped in 1976).

WAFFLAGSALUTE.jpg

WAFbugler.jpg

#4 GLM *Deceased*

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 04:15 PM

Here is a set of USAF EM collar discs and possible early USAF hat emblem from the late 1940's or early 1950's. All three of these emblems came in the same box find from a local antique store here in Colorado. I've always had the understanding that the gold cut-out hat emblems were US Army WAC and not USAF, but since these came together, I'm now wondering if the hat emblem is USAF? The discs are without hallmarks and the hat emblem is KREW, G.I., STERLING marked. Does anyone know for sure if USAF wore these gold cut-out hat emblems before they switched to the silver cut-outs?

The WAF bugler photo from 1952 or 1953 shows her wearing the US collar disc on the left collar, so can anyone pinpoint a specific date the gold cut-out wing and prop discs were discontinued?

BTW - Bob, this early USAF thread was an excellent idea! Transitional and Korean War era USAF is one of the most undocumented and underappreciated areas of US military history and collecting. Maybe we can tie allot of their history together?

Gary

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#5 Gil Sanow

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 05:35 PM

Here is a set of USAF EM collar discs and possible early USAF hat emblem from the late 1940's or early 1950's. All three of these emblems came in the same box find from a local antique store here in Colorado. I've always had the understanding that the gold cut-out hat emblems were US Army WAC and not USAF, but since these came together, I'm now wondering if the hat emblem is USAF? The discs are without hallmarks and the hat emblem is KREW, G.I., STERLING marked. Does anyone know for sure if USAF wore these gold cut-out hat emblems before they switched to the silver cut-outs?

The WAF bugler photo from 1952 or 1953 shows her wearing the US collar disc on the left collar, so can anyone pinpoint a specific date the gold cut-out wing and prop discs were discontinued?

BTW - Bob, this early USAF thread was an excellent idea! Transitional and Korean War era USAF is one of the most undocumented and underappreciated areas of US military history and collecting. Maybe we can tie allot of their history together?

Gary


I once saw an AF blue Ike jacket like that shown at the top, but with ARMY labels! Apparently made to same specs bu the same contractor, but now with new material. If I recall correctly, it was dated '48. Can't get much earlier than that!
I have also seen OD wool Ikes with the new AF chevrons -- definitely transtitional.

#6 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:51 PM

This is the Air Force sage green fatique shirt. This came from the same estate as the Ike and bush jackets above: this guy enlisted in AAF in 1944 and retired from USAF in 1964 and left two trunks of uniforms spanning the years. The shirt's labels were missing but I believe this was late 1950's:

Posted Image

#7 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:57 PM

Sage green remained a popular color for Air Force flight suits long after it disappeared from utility uniforms. This flight suit has a black label:

Posted Image


The label is undated, but I saw another pair with a higher contract number that was dated 1959.

Posted Image

#8 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:37 PM

I found a load of official US Air Force photos showing basic training classes dating back to 1948. It's an interesting glimpse at some of the changes in uniforms.

Notice the Army style visor caps in this photo (remember the USAF was established in Sept 1947):

1948SepBasic.jpg

Interesting to note that by April 1950 we see both the Army cap and a dark blue cap being work with the khaki uniform:

1950AprBasic.jpg

1950Octbasic.jpg

#9 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:39 PM

Here's a couple more from 1950 including one of WAF's:

1950SepKhakibasic.jpg

This is from a Septemeber 1950 class photo:

1950SepWAFbasic.jpg

#10 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:44 PM

Notice the helmets on these 1951 basic training instructors and the soft caps on the recruits:

1951JanBasic.jpg

In 1951 they could still give their visor caps the crusher look:

1951NovBasic.jpg

#11 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:48 PM

Notice the Ike jackets and boots on this 1952 class:

1952Sepbasic.jpg

1952Octbasic.jpg

This is a 1952 WAF class:

1952WAFbasic.jpg

#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:51 PM

A February 1953 class:

1953Febbasic.jpg

Here's a January 1960 class: notice how geeky the uniform looks compared to those from the 1950's. This is basically what they had when I went through Lackland AFB in 1968 and it was not a look that inspired esprit de corps:

1960Jan2basic.jpg

#13 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:06 PM

Some 1950's officer's uniforms.


Here some officers meet with Eddie Rickenbacker in May 1951:

RickenbackerMay1951.jpg

This photo dates from 1955:

1955officers.jpg

Those khaki suits were sharp looking.

#14 Bob Hudson

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:11 PM

Some USAF uniform histories:

http://www.af.mil/ne...n/1296/duds.htm, which notes:

It wasn't until January 1949 when the Air Force adopted its shade 84 blue uniforms; however, most airmen didn't have a set of "blues" hanging in their wall lockers until late 1950. In the interim, officers wore the Army's "pinks and greens" and airmen wore ODs (olive drab).

and this one http://www.afa.org/m...691splendor.asp

#15 DMD

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 04:23 AM

Here is a K-2B flight suit with a December 11, 1959 date on the tag. The 4170th Strategic Wing was disestablished in 1963.

Dennis

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Edited by DMD, 30 May 2007 - 04:26 AM.


#16 Lee Ragan

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:16 AM

The hat badge & collar brass in number 4 are "transition" brass. These were worn on the Army Ikes before the new blue uniform came out. The same hat badge was also used later for females in the Army, but originally were USAF enlisted .
I got this info from an old collector buddy who was in the Air Force during WWII and after. He has since passed away.
The 2 officers with Eddie Rickenbacker are Capt. James Jabara, the first USAF all jet ace from the Korean War. He finished with 15 kills over MiG-15's. On the right is General Hoyt Vandenberg who at the time of the photo was Chief of Staff USAF. I went thru USAF Basic at Lackland in April-May 1966 and served as a supply man till 1970. I issued specialized clothing (flight gear, firemans clothes & cold weather gear mostly), so I'm familuar with a lot of this stuff.
I noticed in one of the basic training photos from the ealry 50's, the TI is wearing a hashmark & overseas bars. These were silver (like the chevrons), on shade 1084 blue. They disappeared by the 1960s, and the blue Ike followed shortly.
The 1505's (short sleeve khaki color summer uniform), really didn't look all that great, but it was cool & comfortable.
Sorry for the rambling post... I have always been interested in the USAF "Transition era", from Army to blue USAF uniforms.
This is a great thread! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

Edited by Lee Ragan, 30 May 2007 - 05:17 AM.


#17 Ricardo

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:32 AM

Hi,

My Korea War Era Sergeant uniform:


http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/6946/korean20war20usaf20ike2bl5.jpg

http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/922/korean20war20usaf20ike2qg6.jpg

http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/2817/usaf20service20stripesov8.jpg

Best regards,

Ricardo.

#18 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 06:03 AM

Sorry for the rambling post... I have always been interested in the USAF "Transition era", from Army to blue USAF uniforms.
This is a great thread! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif


Ramble on my friend! Any details you can provide, feel free to do so.

#19 SARGE

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 09:03 AM

I see a mix of coats and Ike jackets in one photo but does anyone have a photo of a blue coat modified into an Ike jacket in wear?

USAF_Ike_custom.JPG

The custom tailored jackets would show the front and epaulet buttons and would not have the buttons on the cuffs that the issue Ike jackets had.

USAF_Ike_custom_close.JPG

#20 TSgt Mackey

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 10:28 PM

I have a nice collection of Air Force uniforms as well

At http://www.tsgtmackey.com


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