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1980s gear questions


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Too bad about Juan-- doesn't surprise me though. He was a great guy to have around in a fight. I remember a fight at Frenchies Bar one night-- he beat the hell out of several soldiers talking BS from another BDE. We ran from the bar and then watched them all being arrested for tearing up the place!

 

Do you remember "Catfish"-- SSG Stevenson?

 

He was still there when I came back in 1990. He was in A Co. then. He was probably the longest continuous serving Rakkasan ever-- close to 10 years. He finally left when we got back from Desert Storm.

 

Scott

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Too bad about Juan-- doesn't surprise me though. He was a great guy to have around in a fight. I remember a fight at Frenchies Bar one night-- he beat the hell out of several soldiers talking BS from another BDE. We ran from the bar and then watched them all being arrested for tearing up the place!

 

Do you remember "Catfish"-- SSG Stevenson?

 

He was still there when I came back in 1990. He was in A Co. then. He was probably the longest continuous serving Rakkasan ever-- close to 10 years. He finally left when we got back from Desert Storm.

 

Scott

 

 

Stevenson.. Name sounds familiar. I remember another real big guy, SSG Henderson, I think he got there after you left, became my Sqd ldr. Do you remember 1SG Wadley?? I think he came over from A co.

 

I remember Frenchies but I used to hang out at the Bel Aire Country Club. I was good friends with the owner and I got a job as a bouncer on the weekends. Used to wear a red budweiser silk jacket to the club..

 

I think Juan used to have a roomate by the name of Finney?? Also remember a guy by the name of Hickey.. Good trooper..

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Take a look at this OIF trench art Fedayeen Helmet:

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/175236-iraqi-items-brought-home-by-me/page-2

 

It was from 2-187th.

 

Scott

 

 

Nice looking helmet..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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So I was thinking about the sleeping mat and then I remembered about the inflatable ones, I have seen the foam ones from 1986 on up(btw mine is 1987 dated) and have seen the inflatable ones dated up to 1985 so I am going to get a inflatable one for my early 80s impression(yes I know they usually don't take them to the field so this is more or less just for my collection). Also on the under shirts I have the tan ones but found so OD ones, what was more common? Lastly, thanks to everyone who has helped with the pictures and information, 16 pages and pinned in just 4 months.

 

Brown T shirts will be just fine for your impression. I am not sure if there was a period in time when OD shirts were worn by Army Soldiers. Perhaps in Vietnam?? I think this may be when they wore them. Not too sure though.

 

I know Marines in the 80's wore green or OD t shirts. I'll bet Fender Rhodes will be able to clarify that for you..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Leigh is right. We always wore OD t-shirts in the Corps. I remember at one point there was a possibility of us going to brown but it never came to pass.

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Leigh is right. We always wore OD t-shirts in the Corps. I remember at one point there was a possibility of us going to brown but it never came to pass.

 

 

Thanks Brother..

 

I knew you would be able to clarify for us what you wore in the Marine Corps..

 

Thanks again.. Good to see you back here..

 

Leigh..

 

 

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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I was issued od green t shirts from cif at Ft Polk in Oct 81. Once we were able to purchase bdu's from clothing sales it was brown only and that was in early 82 if my memory is correct. The rubber lady was ok until it got a hole in it or the inner seams let loose and it was like laying on a sausage.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello, I was on this site:

http://loadbearingequipment.ciehub.info/ALICE/FirstAidDressingCompassCase.html

It said they carried 2 bandages and a package of sodium chloride - sodium bicarbonate mixture. What is sodium chloride - sodium bicarbonate mixture, did you carry it? Also found this: http://loadbearingequipment.ciehub.info/ref/FM/21-15_1977.pdf

Cold War Collector 1945-1991 NATO & Warsaw Pact

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Hello, I was on this site:

http://loadbearingequipment.ciehub.info/ALICE/FirstAidDressingCompassCase.html

It said they carried 2 bandages and a package of sodium chloride - sodium bicarbonate mixture. What is sodium chloride - sodium bicarbonate mixture, did you carry it? Also found this: http://loadbearingequipment.ciehub.info/ref/FM/21-15_1977.pdf

 

 

I carried two field dressings as this was SOP for the unit's I was in. The sodium chloride, sodium bicarb mixture is basically baking soda and salt, carbicarb is what it is referred as. I never carried it, usually the medics would have this type of item. I think this was also a Vietnam era thing that was carried. I want to say that this solution when properly mixed with proper amount of water (which I do not know the amount, but I think it was a canteen full) was used to treat hypovolemic shock, burns and fluid replacements in large volume blood loss. Mixed with a canteen of water the victim then drank the mixture.. I think... Dont quote me on that though... It gets a little more difficult to explain when talking about Ph balances and other chemical formulas.

 

I think the packets were a quick "IV" solution in the absence of medical personnel where the average Joe could take out his canteen, and mix the powder packet with the canteen and you have an IV.. again don't quote me on that...

 

When my unit deployed to Panama, we all recieved advanced First Aid training and how to start an IV on someone. This was in the early 80's prior to Combat Lifesaver Training. The Medics in our unit taught us how to start IV's and we all carried an IV solution of either Lactated Ringers or Sodium Chloride with the IV tubing, tourniquet, and catheters. These were all taped together and we carried them in our BDU cargo pockets..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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One more note to add...

 

When using the field dressings, it was always encouraged to use the casualty's dressing's to treat their wounds. They were going to be evacuated so the point of using your's on someone was not reccommended, since you would then be without a field dressing.. Once again unit SOP...

 

Leigh

 

 

 

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Ok so did soldiers put stuff in the helmet bands or no, I don't think they did but still will ask.

Cold War Collector 1945-1991 NATO & Warsaw Pact

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Ok so did soldiers put stuff in the helmet bands or no, I don't think they did but still will ask.

 

Normally Soldier's in the 80's did not place anything in the helmet bands, However, and again this is just based off my experience and my unit SOP. We carried a nail and a piece of white chalk in the band of our helmets. The nail was used to make adjustments to the front sight post of the M16 rifle. The point of the nail was small enough to depress the small detent button on the front sight post so you could move your sight up or down. This was usually used most during weapons qualification. Of course during parade season these items were removed from the helmets.

 

The piece of chalk was used to mark buildings when conducting clearing operations. Each unit had an SOP as to how to mark each room, door or wall to indicate that it had been cleared of enemy.

 

Now inside the helmet was adifferent story, some placed pictures, other placed panel markers, protractors and other items for quick reference and use.

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Leigh is right. We always wore OD t-shirts in the Corps. I remember at one point there was a possibility of us going to brown but it never came to pass.

`

 

I think this is an Active Duty only conversation, but I was a Reserve Marine 83/87 and while I was in we wore white or none in the field.

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`

 

I think this is an Active Duty only conversation, but I was a Reserve Marine 83/87 and while I was in we wore white or none in the field.

 

 

Capa,

 

Your contributions to this topic are most valuable. It is very interesting to know what the Reserve Components also wore and did during this period. Thank you very much for the information and your Service..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Thanks very much Leigh, nice of you to say! The early 1980s were an interesting uniform period, not necessarily the best, but interesting because of the transitions going on. For example, my recruit series was the first at Parris Island to receive MREs for our week in the field. My Senior DI served in Vietnam and he kept telling us how much better they were than c-rations. Ours was one of the early versions of the awful poly/cotton Woodlands uniforms. While at PI, we wore the Chrome Domes (silver painted helmet liners). Later, I served in a 155mm battery. When we went to the field, as mentioned, all we had were white t-shirts. We would line up and get our 782 gear which was a real mix of Nam era and the later nylon ALICE gear. Since we rode in trucks, all we received in addition to the 782 gear was a waterproof bag with an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag. While I was in we changed over from the steel pots to the PASGT helmets. I've got a photo (c. 1984) of me and two other Marines in the field at Twentynine Palms-two of us are wearing Mitchell covers, one an ERDL. The joke was the Corps got the Army's leftovers and we reservists got the Fleet's leftovers.

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I joined the Ohio Guard in 1980. Initially we wore the OG507 Permanent press uniform with white t shirts. After the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) began to be fielded to active duty units (around late 82-early 83), we were authorized to wear three optional uniforms if we could obtain them through private purchase... The BDUs, the ERDL rip stop camouflage uniform (with slant or straight pockets on the jacket) or the OG107 rip stop uniform (These were the Vietnam Era four pocket jacket and six pocket trouser uniforms most commonly seen in the Vietnam movies). Once the unit was issued an initial allotment of four sets per person around 1985, the ERDLs were no longer authorized for wear, however the OG107s were still authorized until October of 1987 for summertime wear in the field. We received the PASGT helmet around the same time we received the BDUs. Up till that point we wore the Vietnam era M1 helmet and liner. T-shirts worn with the ERDLs or OG-107s could be white, black, issue brown or olive drab green. After the BDUs were issued, only the issue brown t shirt could be worn.

 

Hope that helps...

 

Wayne

Freedom isnt free... it must be paid for. Too often it is paid for by the blood of patriots. For those who have paid their share, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

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Capa and Wayne

 

Thank you both for some very informative answers. This has been a most interesting topic and I am sure it will continue to grow as more questions come up. Thanks again for your contributions

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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  • 4 weeks later...
Fender Rhodes

Regarding helmet bands, in the early 90's, they were not an issue item in the USMC. More often than not, you were issued a helmet without one. Most of the Marines that had them got them via private purchase. I bought my own, but even with it, we were only allowed to put local flora in the bands for camo. The only exception I can recall was the speed loader that came in the 5.56 ammo bandoliers and that was only tolerated at the range.

 

Inside the helmet, we used to put foam rings to help pad our heads. They were made of a green-ish/gray plastic foam material that was fine during intermediate weather but man would they conduct and trap heat in the summer.

 

We wore green t-shirts all the time. Some had unit logos, etc but for the most part, were plain green.

 

We were issued foam sleeping mats. Interestingly, some guys would fold them flat into segments, and others would roll them just like they were designed. I actually picked up two spares at the local surplus place...one spare was cut up to make padding for my large ALICE ruck.

 

First aid kits...I couldn't tell you exactly what was in them back then as I never saved an example (a full one at least)...mostly it was junk compared to the stuff I got issued starting in 2003. I usually augmented the FAK's I got in the 90's with my own stuff. Typically you got band aids, sunscreen, lip balm, two bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, etc. I added anti-biotic ointment, snake bite kit, eye pad bandages, and good fabric band-aids (the issue ones were garbage).

 

One thing I forgot to mention, at some point, I read in one of those Nam LRRP books (you could pick up them in the exchange for a couple of bucks), about sewing a half a poncho liner in a half of a poncho. I went to the local surplus store (reoccurring theme...) and picked up a couple of ratty, generally unserviceable examples of each, cut them down and took them to the local seamstress. She sewed them together, and I used that in the field when I wanted to pack light but wanted to have both. It worked out ok and a few more examples popped up in my unit as other guys copied the idea. I wouldn't say that I preferred it to a full-sized poncho and liner, but like I said, it helped when I wanted to pack light. The drawback was that they were sewed together. I'm pretty sure at some point, I removed one from the other, yet still took both to the field. Having them sewn together, removed a level of flexibility. It was much more functional once they were separated.

Best,

FR

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

In the 82nd Airborne Division we wore the steel M1 and then the 1st Generation Kevlar with helmet band. The helmet band was issued and had the two cats eyes on the back. Our name was written, stenciled on the front to be seen and rank was required to be sewn on the cover. Due to an airborne unit, all sharp edged uniform items were discouraged in case of a hang up on the parachute. My Battalion placed a netting over our Kevlars and emplaced strips of different color burlap on the netting as the modern version of scrim, for camoflauge purposes and because it identified our unit from others. The Cabbage Patch dolls came out about that time and had a similar look so all other Batt's called us "Cabbage Patch Kids" and you can see the photo's all over the place.

 

The white T Shirt was worn, as Wayne mentioned until the BDU was first issued and then it was strictly brown except when in a Class A or Class B uniform, then it was white. The early 1980's was interesting due to the transition from Green OG107's and OG105 fatigues to the RDF (still using slant pocket cammies), then the BDU. There were numerous uniforms being used during that period that ranged from the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. At one point, as the BDU was being issued there were about five different field uniforms in use.

 

  • Green Fatigues- 105's and 107's
  • Camo Fatigues- RDF, Jungle Cammies (ERDL), BDU
  • Junge Fatigues- Originally just the Rangers and SF, but issued starting 1983 for summer use.

I liken the variety to the time period of the early 1940's as the miliary was transitioning from the Wool Combat Uniforms to HBT Material and then a Sateen based material.

  • Wools
  • HBT's- three different patterns
  • Camo's-
  • M-43's
  • Specialized uniforms like Mountain, Paratroops, Paramarines etc.

After WWII the sateen fatigue based upon the M43 kept being issued until the 1970's, similar to the BDU being the primary uniform from 1983, until the 2000's.

 

Rock

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2/505th (RA) 5/502nd (RA) 2/505th (REEN)

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What was the one uniform used in the 70s, I think it was OG-507 but I don't remember, that would have been in use in the early 80s too right?

Cold War Collector 1945-1991 NATO & Warsaw Pact

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

The OG507's, or Green Fatigue (Pickle Suit) were worn and used in the Army and the last year of use was late 1983 I believe. The OG507's went out at the same time that the Khaki Class B Uniform was authorized. I was issued some green uniforms as well as the BDU's but when I went to my unit the camoflauge uniform was the only one authorized for wear initially. In use were old slant pocket Jungle Fatigue's, lots of RDF's and of course the new BDU, which was the least popular of the camo uniforms. This was a time of transition.

 

Helmet Bands and did we put anything in them? Not at Fort Bragg except maybe the Machine Gun Team who would keep a bottle of breakfree handy to unclog the M60 MG.

 

Marking buildings was done in most Infantry units-- In Berlin, as mentioned previously, we used a combination of orange paint, white paint and white chalk to mark building cleared. No building was to be marked as clear until all floors were secure and the Assault Team was on to the next building. Reason for that was that an enemy could counterattack and take the building back, and if it was marked, friendlies might enter unwittingly and be killed or captured. The support team was to be in place, putting fire on the next building and the next building under assault before you could consider a building clear.

 

 

Rock

2RO2.jpg

 

2/505th (RA) 5/502nd (RA) 2/505th (REEN)

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