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  1. Couple of observations from this thread.. "The beret is supposed to be worn with ASUs, we stopped wearing it with ACUs". ...Maroon/Tan/Green berets are still worn as the primary headgear with ACUs when in garrison. Very few commands don't prescribe it for daily wear. It is only Black berets that aren't commonly worn in ACUs. It seems to be a mixed bag with the brown SFAB beret. "First, they cut out the lining". ...US issued berets (and the vast majority of private purchase berets) haven't come with linings for a very long time. More than 20 years. Skysoldier80's post is spot on with current practices.
  2. Sal, I remember the left most coin you have (with 30 June 2004 date) being available for purchase inside of the Embassy compound by a guy named Roger Schafer who ran a small gift shop. I have a few that are within the same number range as yours, and were obtained mid-2005. I remember looking over his spreadsheet of available numbers to see if certain ones were available for my organization. I might have the same MNFI coin too, but numbered, I'll have to check the office.
  3. I recognize Mark D. We didn't get any special challenge coins or anything from the event organizer. I did exchange unit coins, shirts, and wings with II Para. In hindsight, I should have brought a spare beret to trade as well.
  4. Greetings and welcome! I'm also local to San Diego.
  5. Couple of quick observations on this thread.. -No, the persons modeling the uniforms are not 'actors', they really are actual service members. -Some concern was expressed about awards being far more common than in previous eras. Got it. For what its worth, award issuance has absolutely become less frequent than it was a 5-10-15 years ago during OIF/OEF, as combat deployments have become increasingly scarce. 2 of my E7s with combat deployments don't even have a single ARCOM (just 2-3 AAMs and a single JSAM each), and very few of my junior soldiers have anything more than the basic participation awards (Airborne wings, GCM, NDSM, ASR). Probably 10% of my combat arms organization wear combat patches, whereas in the mid 2000's it was 90%+. The pendulum has swung back towards being a garrison Army, and award issuance reflects this (sadly, so does experience and knowledge within the force). -Field Grade and General Officers wearing 2 rows of ribbons is more a function of venue than it is regulation. There is some discussion of it here: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/127534-why-does-he-wear-only-2-rows/page-2
  6. The 16th POB has never been on jump status. Between the nylon band and the clearly visible wear on the flash, it is highly likely to be an authentic beret, but that DUI is out of place. If you ignore the DUI for a second, that beret and USACAPOC flash would be correct for: -The 6 PSYOP companies on jump status (301st, 310th, 325th, 344th, 345th, 346th), prior to those companies being authorized their own distinctive wing trimming and beret flashes (for most, in the mid-2000s). -Unofficially, by the 10 soldiers each in the Headquarters (HSC) Companies at the 14th/15th/17th Battalions and 2nd/7th Group who are in paid parachutist positions as key leaders, or for airborne oversight. -Headquarters, USACAPOC -The Civil Affairs community. However, when you add the 16th POB flash to that beret, there is no official reason that this beret should exist. The 16th POB and their downtrace units wear the black beret, with USACAPOC flash or standard blue/white Army flash (both flashes have been worn interchangeably, and probably incorrectly, by reservists in non-airborne units that fall under USACAPOC). The most likely explanation is one of the airborne companies, or their Detachments, were attached to the 16th POB for a deployment, and personnel swapped DUIs but retained their berets. This happened occasionally, and because of the ad-hoc arrangement of attachments/detachments/support it could explain this beret. It was probably done unofficially, but uniformly across the Detachment to maintain morale and a distinctive 'appearance' separate from the 16 POB hosts. So to be clear; i'm not calling this a 'fake', but outside of the explanation I can't see any plausible reasons why this should exist.
  7. I don't often log in here, and I've been somewhat delayed in posting my involvement in the D-Day +75 airborne operations. I jumped with Daks over Normandy on 5 June, as the primary jumpmaster for WWII C-47 "Betsy's Biscuit Bomber", based out of Paso Robles, CA. I exited 21 jumpers over the historic "DZ K" in Sannerville, France after completing the cross-channel flight from Duxford, England. Flying across the English country side, over the cliffs of Dover, across the English Channel, and over the beaches of Normandy was an experience I'll never forget. Absolutely the coolest experience I've ever had in uniform. The icing on the cake was my brother pulled duties as my Safety (he got to exit too, we used jumping safeties). I'm a currently serving paratrooper and not a reenactor, so I had to purchase uniforms for the event. Having never worn M42 uniforms (bought from At the Front) before, I was surprised how practically designed and comfortable they were. The M1 helmet (bought from JMurray1944) was heavy; not keeping 'chin to chest' probably would result in some nasty whiplash.. Most people were in M42s, although a few people were in Canadian or British uniforms. Generally, most uniforms were properly configured. The parachutes used were mostly SF-10, MC1-1, and British LLP chutes. I jump a SF-10. I don't recall anyone jumping a non-steerable round. The pilots and loadmasters for Betsy's Biscuit Bomber were great to work with. Good crew overall, excellent communication. Since the airdrop plan was to have 2 passes, we decided against the traditional 'follow me!' jumpmaster exiting procedures. Instead, the we used a static jumpmaster on pass 1, and they exited by following the stick out on pass 2 (basically the same as current C130/C17 type ADEPT Option 1 exiting procedures). Once the JM was clear, the Safety exited. The aircrew retrieved static lines and deployment bags. For most of you, that probably is totally foreign, but it should make sense to any former paratroopers. Organizationally, Daks over Normandy was an utter failure in planning, and a lot of guys made comparisons to it being an airborne Fyre Festival. The event organizer over promised and under delivered repeatedly. The 4 June rehearsal jump in Duxford England was never coordinated, and was doomed from the start. Neither were the demo jumps with Black Daggers, Golden Knights, and Red Devils (there wasn't even a NOTAM ever submitted or official requests filed with the CAA). As weather would have it, the jump probably would have been scratched anyways. I spent the day hanging out with guys from II Battalion, Parachute Regiment and touring the Imperial War Museum - probably the finest aviation museum I've ever seen. When I return to England in the future, I'll make an effort to visit Duxford again. The 5 June cross channel jump barely happened, and would have certainly failed had it not been for some strong initiative on the part of some motivated JMs stepping up. 20+ guys were scratched because of losing aircraft due to maintenance; I'm sure that was very disappointing for them. Final manifest, Sustained Airborne Training (for those who even did it.. yikes), and JMPI was informal, to say the least.. Once we got wheels up and the flight crew took over, things began to improve. The cross channel flight in the C-47 aircraft formation, with fighter escort, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We took the aircraft paratroop door off just before the Normandy coast, and I hooked up and stood in the door for close to 15 minutes while approaching the DZ. Despite all of the problems with Daks, at the end of the day it was an absolutely incredible experience. Exiting that aircraft with aircraft and jumpers above, below, and beside me was the wildest jump I've ever had and far more chaotic than any large mass tactical jump I've ever done with DoD. The release was supposed to be VIRS with the trail aircraft releasing based on the first plane's execution, but somewhere along the way the first plane started exiting early and 9 planes of guys ended up off the DZ. True to 1944, most of my stick ended up about 2 miles from the PI, scattered across the countryside. I landed in a farmer's field with tall crops over my head, and my brother landed about 100 yards from me in a wheat field. We shared a bottle of wine on the DZ that II Para had given us (wine bottles fit into M42 cargo pockets!) before starting the long walk back to the check in point. Not having a passport stamp or checking in with Customs while exiting England or entering France was pretty historic too, although that was probably just something else overlooked by Daks over Normandy.
  8. US Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) was created in 2011, and "patched over" in 2013. The USASOC Flight Detachment at Bragg (flies fixed wing C27s, CASA 212s) also wears the USASOAC patch - not just 160th. Also, for what it is worth, there are far more staff and support types, in low density MOSs, wearing the USASOC patch than special mission unit types. Similarly, there more non-SF guys wearing the SF patch than actual 18 series guys.
  9. 6 years to E6 isn't especially uncommon, now or then. Over 30,000 NCOs attended the NCO Candidate Course at Ft Benning. Referencing this paper (https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a631461.pdf) it indicates that "the average NCOC Graduate had five months of military service under his belt and most entered the course with the rank of E2 and/or E3. The average was 20 1/2 years old with one year of college". Battlefield promotions were also in existence during Vietnam. In the modern era, E1-E4 advancements are every 6 months (assuming the Soldier does their part and stays out of trouble). E5 by year 3-4 is pretty normal, and E6 around the 6 year mark certainly isn't anything unusual.
  10. Just wanted to say hi. I've been lurking here for quite a while, but haven't posted before. My interests primarily are WWII era intelligence and psychological operations/deception related content. I'm not really a collector, just someone who has inadvertently amassed items through the years. I'm in southern California. Cheers, Robert.
  11. Slightly off topic here, but can anyone point me to info about the use of the airborne infantry cap patch (not the combined para/glider) and if it would have also been worn by support folks within an Infantry Battalion? Medics, Battalion S2, etc.. I'm looking for any input that would indicate if it was more of an organizational item vs. being a individual infantry only item. Thanks in advance!
  12. Good morning, My name is Robert. I found this place through the OIF/OEF forum, where I am a member with the same username. Through the years, I've amassed quite a bit of militaria from OIF and current period conflicts, although I never really intended to 'collect' anything. I also have an bit of an interest in parachuting. Cheers!
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