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    Denver, CO
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    Motorcycles, 4 wheeling, camping, shooting sports, history, law

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  1. The local tailor shops "in theater" sold all manner of patches: Reversed patches, customized patches, even "parody patches." I'll dig out mine - they took the logo of my brigade (115th Field Artillery) which is the Wyoming "cowboy" image (cowboy riding a bucking horse - also seen on Wyoming's highway signs, university, etc) and replaced the horse with a camel.
  2. Not sure, we were in Kuwait the whole time so the only things we had to fight were the heat, the dust and boredom.
  3. 81st BCT (WAARNG) was deployed the same time I was in Kuwait. We actually had about a dozen 81st BCT guys attached to my unit (HHB 115th FA Bde, WYARNG.) We were there basically all of 2004, arrived in late January and redeployed to CONUS in mid December of '04. This included the first big "surge" when the 1st Armored division troops were pulled out of Iraq and then within a few weeks they were ordered back. Some of them had made it all the way back to Germany when they were notified that they were returning to the sandbox for another 3 months. Needless to say, they were not happy, doing a 15 month tour!
  4. Having deployed to the sandbox a couple of times I'll hazard a guess as to what happened: 3rd ID at Fort Stewart, GA is one of the units that has had a "desert mission" since the end of the Gulf War (when it was the 24th Infantry division. 3rd ID in Germany was deactivated and then 24th ID was reflagged as 3rd ID.) In the mid-90's, "desert tan" nametags were not widely available so the regulation at that time stated that soldiers would wear the green subdued nametags and US army tapes on the DCU. Units that deployed to the Middle East all the time (CENTCOM units and some SF units) would have desert-color name tapes and US army tapes made in theater, but in the US they weren't available. It wasn't until after OEF started (the US operation in Afghanistan) that desert-color subdued name tapes and US army tapes were widely available within the Army system. So my thought is that this soldier was probably issued the DCU prior to the 9/11 attacks, since his unit regularly rotated into Kuwait for training. Since desert-color name tapes weren't available, he used green name tapes, which the regulation allowed. Then, after OEF and OIF started, the desert-color name tapes were made available and the unit was directed to switch their green name tapes for desert color. This soldier probably just decided to have the desert color tape sewn over the old green tape to make it easier (maybe he even did it at home or had his wife do it.)
  5. I concur with Rakkasan. Unlike WWII when uniforms were often turned in, repaired and then reissued to another GI, in the modern military it's rare that BDU uniforms would be reissued. So most likely the "ghost" patches you see are patches that this aviator had when he was in a previous unit. Depending on one's MOS (Military Occupational Specialy - IOW their "job" in the military) uniforms can last for 6 months or 6 years. My job (intel analyst) had me working in an office in garrison but in the field I was often doing things like stringing concertina wire and camouflage netting. Typically I would get about 2 - 3 years out of a set of Temperate BDUs. "Hot weather" BDUs didn't last nearly as long, as the material would get very thin and start to tear, especially on the thighs above the knees. Even though I didn't go to the field that much, I felt like I was lucky if I got a year out of a set of HWBDUs. With BDUs the pants almost always wear out first and since the camo material fades, you can't just buy a new set of pants when they wear out (because then you would have a faded top and non-faded pants) so most of the time we'd buy a jacket and pants at the same time. As a result, a lot of GI's would end up with extra BDU tops because the pants had worn out but the whole uniform had to be replaced. There's one factor that I believe contributed to the longevity of this uniform: The owner was an aviator, which meant that his "working" uniform was not the BDU but the aviator's "Bag" flight suit. Many aviators have pristine BDUs because they are so rarely worn. About the only time an aviator would wear a BDU would be if he was grounded or had some staff assignment/desk job that precluded him from flying.
  6. AFAIK the Sapper tab is only available to soldiers who have a Combat Engineer MOS. Many aviation warrant officers are prior enlisted (in fact, I'd guess most are.) So likely this aviator was an enlisted combat engineer before he went to WOCS and flight school. I don't see how an aviator could (or would) earn a "sapper" tab as an aviator. Not sure when the Sapper tab was approved, but IIRC it was some time in the late 90's. It was in the early 2000's that Warrant officers started wearing the branch insignia of their actual branch (prior to that, all Warrant officers wore the Warrant officer branch insignia regardless of their actual branch.) The right sleeve US flag and aviation branch mark that as a late-issue BDU, 2003 - 2005 or so.
  7. The one thing I do like about that picture is that it shows how ill suited the 6 color 'chocolate chip' pattern DBDU was for the Middle East environment. It might work in the Mojave desert in the US but the Arabian peninsula is mostly just sand.
  8. Seems like a "why bother" camo pattern. I mean, if you're going to use colors that are so similar to each other you might as well just make the whole thing in one color and save the money on "camouflage" dye. That uniform would be almost indistinguishable from an all-khaki uniform from a distance of more than 50 feet anyway.
  9. Now, having said the above, let me point out that AFAIK the DCU was always an "organization issue" uniform. IOW they never sold DCU uniforms in the Military Clothing Sales store (MCSS) and solders were not required to maintain DCU's at their own cost. DCUs were issued prior to a deployment and in most cases they were returned to the Central Issue Facility (CIF) when the solder returned from their overseas tour (some active duty units may have been required to maintain DCUs, I'm not sure as I was off active duty by then and in the reserve components.) For this reason, the only thing that was REQUIRED to be sewn onto a DCU were the "bare minimum" uniform requirements: Name above the right breast pocket, US ARMY tape above the left breast pocket, current unit SSI (shoulder patch) on the LEFT shoulder and US flag on the RIGHT shoulder. That's the MINIMUM to meet AR-670-1 requirements. Rank could be worn as a pin-on and any other insignia like the FWTS-SSI ("combat patch") combat/special skill badges (jump wings, EIB/CIB, and Drill Sergeant badge would be examples of these) were OPTIONAL for the wearer and did not have to be sewn on. Some soldiers (like me, for instance ) took pride in our appearance and in the awards we earned and paid out of our own pockets to have our FWTS-SSI and special skill badges sewn on. Others chose to do the "bare minimum" and made do with pin-on rank and no other badges. It was totally up to them. Every overseas location I was at had a local tailor shop that would not only sew on badges at the soldiers expense (usually very cheap like $0.50/patch) but they also sold embroidered name tags, theater-made patches (which looked very different from "issued" patches) and would even make unauthorized or "morale" patches at the soldiers request.
  10. I can't imagine any circumstance where a drill sergeant would wear a DCU in a training environment. The drill sergeant badge is like any other army badge and once its earned can be worn for the remainder of the soldier's career. I've even seen commissioned and warrant officers who wear the DS badge that they earned when they were enlisted. So a DCU with a DS badge means a soldier who earned the badge and then later deployed to a combat zone where the DCU was issued.
  11. I had just enlisted and was going through Infantry OSUT at Fort Benning when these changes were made. The tan poplin long sleeve shirt (always worn under the dress green jacket) was dropped in favor of the light green shirt when the khaki summer uniform was discontinued, since the new summer "class B" uniform was the green trousers with the light green shirt vs. the old short sleeve khaki shirt with khaki trousers. I received my Class A uniform issue in November and since it was Winter, we only got the winter dress green uniform with the poplin shirt. We were not issued the light green shirt at that time but we were not issued khaki's either, which meant that for a period I actually had no Summer class B uniform. By the time Summer arrived, I already had a light green class B shirt that I purchased myself since I was working in an office following my knee surgery at Martin Army Hospital. I think this was a budget-cutting measure and designed to reduce the number of uniform items each soldier was required to maintain (which I believe was a very good idea - I get sad when I think of the Navy and how many different uniforms they have to maintain!) The picture Patches shows above illustrates how the green shirt was originally worn by enlisted personnel: With "shiny" rank insignia on the collar, while officers had "shoulder marks" (AKA shoulder boards) that were slipped through the shoulder loops. Some time between 1985 and 87, I think, the Army decided that NCO's needed to look more "professional" and so starting then, NCO's in the grade of Corporal or above would wear shoulder marks too. They were different from the Officer shoulder marks though. Officer shoulder marks were green and had a gold stripe at the base. Enlisted shoulder marks were black and had an embroidered gold rank insignia. Lower enlisted, non-NCO soldiers in the rank of Specialist (SPC or SP/4) and below continued to wear pin-on gold insignia on the collar points.
  12. That jacket looks almost exactly like my dad's Tropical Worsted jacket that he wore in the 1960's. He left the Army in 1967 so that would conform with a jacket that was authorized until 1968. I believe the patch on the cuff is a unit award, correct? How late were they authorized?
  13. I concur with the above. Even among "factory made" patches there were variations between different manufacturers and some of the patches "evolved" over time. Theater made patches are usually quite distinctive and often made of different material than issued patches.
  14. Back in the 1990's the Army came out with the "aviation BDU." It was cut similar to a BDU and was a two piece uniform, but was made out of flame-retardent NOMEX for use by flight crews. It had a built-in waist belt sewn inside and (I think) some pockets on the sleeve and lower leg. The idea was to give aviators and aviation crew a uniform that looked similar to a BDU, but would work while flying. Aviators generally HATED them and much preferred their distinctive wash-and-wear "bag" suits.
  15. My guess is that it's the latter, i..e it's a 1993 uniform that was worn after 2002 - 2003. Remember that just because the uniform was made in 1993 it doesn't mean it was issued or purchased that year. It could have sat in a warehouse for a few years before being either issued or sold on the military clothing sales store. Hot weather BDU's like that didn't last long, BUT the owner of that uniform top was an aviator - which means that most of his "working" time he was wearing a "bag", i.e, a flight suit, not a BDU. So his hot weather uniforms would last a lot longer than a grunt or a soldier who worked in the field a lot and wore BDUs all the time.
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