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AAF Survival Vest


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That's in great shape. The only one I have is field modified. Evidently the owner of it didn't like the way the pockets were situated and resewed them in a different configuration. I'd love to get my hands on an unissued example.

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To truely understand freedom, one must know the place, clutch the earth, and honor the sacrifice.

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Nice find. These were surplussed after the war and made excellent fishing / hunting vests, which is why surviving examples are often missing their .45 holster or have been messed with in other ways. The hard part is finding the contents for each of the pockets!! ;)

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My neighbor started out his USAF career as a navigator in 1956 and he was issued the type C-1 vest. A few years ago, he gave the vest and the remaining contents to me. More info on it and the other items from his group can be seen at:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5919-vietnam-usaf-pilots-group/?hl=%2Bmemorial+%2Bday

 

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Lucky you Erick! My vest is a really nice Sears & Roebuck one...possibly unissued. When I first got it I thought I'd try to find as many of the pocket's contents as possible. As you know, they're all marked....I mean, how difficult could that be? BIG mistake! As soon as I started trawling the dealer's sites and finding that a simple waterproof match container was about $70 and a signalling mirror maybe $50 etc., I decided it was an unrealistic prospect, so I abandoned the idea! That said, I've picked up a few smaller pieces for modest amounts over the years but original survival stuff is scarce and expensive! :o

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is the survival vest that started all US Survival vests. It spanned so many years that it amazes me how many variations in the vest layout and the survival components there are. Lighteninghawk indicated (I think on an eBay collectors page or perhaps his own page) that at some point one or more of the 8, C-1 Vest contractors and the 1 sub-contractor delivered vests that were unfinished to the end users so they could configure the pockets the way they wanted. This speculation makes since to me - since this was exactly what started happening with SRU-21/P vests in the middle to late 1980s.

 

Some speculation - (1) one member on this forum posted pictures of his C-1 vest with snaps (the round steel parkerized snaps with a brass ring in the female hub) and I had to wonder - was this C-1 Vest used in Viet Nam prior to Army's adoption of SRU-21/P (?) which would explain the reason it came without the holster (the army had re-adopted the 38 pistol for pilots then) and (2) perhaps all of the original C-1 Vest buttons were used by CISCO for the US Tiger Stripe fatigues? I don't know if the original CISCO Tiger suit buttons were Bakelite or not. I will make some enquiries.

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The speculation mentioned here is that pure speculation and not fact. All manufacturing of C-1 vests on all contracts were done by April 1945 and delivered complete never being delivered with separate empty pockets. I do not have an answer for the blank vests that never had a holster and/or pockets added but can assure you it was not an authorized modification by the USAAF. Large volumes of vests (principally the 3rd pattern) were still in inventory at the close of hostilities and were released as surplus. C-1 vests could be mailed ordered through advertisements in outdoor magazines from 1946-1954 (1954 is the latest I have seen them). All these modifications that pop up from time to time are of post service and not WWII. However not all vests were delivered to the War Assets and still remained in inventory and used in the Korean conflict by both the USAF and Naval Aviation forces. Modifications could have been done in service at this time but again not WWII. All modifications have to be considered surplus and/or bubba.

The streamlining of the kit mentioned in the article from ebay was just talk and never gained any traction outside of the Equipment Laboratory of the USAAF.

This is another example that we have to look at resources. The now unfortunately lost site of Minovich was a fabulous resource to look at C-1 vests and its components but on page 1 he mentions resources those being the Personal Equipment Manual for PEO's, Sweetings Combat Flying Equipment and several various booklets. There was some speculation in many areas on that site , sometimes he was right and sometimes he was wrong.

I am merely speaking from having copies of the actual specifications, contracts and hundreds of memorandums and correspondences with the C-1 vest as the topic from the USAAF from 1943-1946.

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Dustin,

 

Thank you for the clarification and the information - I really appreciate it! When I joined - I saw photos of your WWII survival kit and equipment collection posted by another member. I was hoping you were still active here.

 

Have you considered putting a book together on the C-1 Vest from your extensive resource collection? I would stand in line for a copy!

 

Also you mentioned that you have the C-1 Vest specs and contracts in the last line of your response - do you have the original C-1 vest drawings?

 

Sincerely,

 

Mashsig

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I believe the C-1 vest was used along with in country made duck hunter pattern survival vests prior to the USAF

adoption of the SRU-21/P vest around 1966. The USAF was using the Smith & Wesson Model 15-2 Combat Masterpiece

revolver then. During the early part of the war, the revolver was kept in a shoulder holster or attached to the

pistol belt in the GUU-1/P black leather holster with swivel. This could explain why the M-1911/M-1911A1 holster

on the C-1 vest was removed.

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