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Tropical Coats Worn Outside Southeast Asia.


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I wore OD jungle utilities as a Marine going through Ranger School in the summer of 1986. I believe it was the standard uniform for all students and instructions . I ironed on the EGA and USMC on my left pocket in the same manner as on our cammies. We even had our last name sewn on as a confession to the Army. Marines did sewn name tapes on utilities until the early 1990s. I was not authorized to wear the jungle utilities anywhere else.

 

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This one technically applies to the topic although it is fudging a little. This is the 2nd Platoon of Company C 3rd Battalion 506th Infantry wearing jungle fatigues at Fort Campbell, Kentucky a few days before deploying to Vietnam in September 1967.

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By the way, the battalion commander seated in the center of the front row in the photo in the previous post is LTC John P. Geraci. He is the same officer who appears in these fairly well known photos of the Vietnam War when he later served as commander of the 1st Brigade 9th Infantry Division.

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This one technically applies to the topic although it is fudging a little. This is the 2nd Platoon of Company C 3rd Battalion 506th Infantry wearing jungle fatigues at Fort Campbell, Kentucky a few days before deploying to Vietnam in September 1967.

Interesting. Begs the question as to why they were issued them, and subdued sleeve ranks, but not the 3rd Bde 82nd Abn when they left Bragg for the RVN.

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Interesting. Begs the question as to why they were issued them, and subdued sleeve ranks, but not the 3rd Bde 82nd Abn when they left Bragg for the RVN.

Here's the reason. The remainder of the 101st Airborne (the 1st Brigade having been in Vietnam since 1965) was alerted for deployment to Vietnam in August 1967 and was originally scheduled to arrive in-country by February 1968. While any planning for deployment is hectic, it did create a window of several months to absorb replacements, send soldiers to various schools, conduct training and outfit the units with tropical equipment. Even though the deployment was pushed ahead to December 1967, that still gave the division three to four months to prepare, including the issuance of jungle fatigues stateside. The same was true of the 11th and 198th Light Infantry Brigades that deployed on schedule about the same time.

 

On the other hand, the 82nd Airborne Division was basically the Army's Rapid Deployment Force in 1968 but it had been stripped of many of its soldiers to feed replacements to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam after Dak To in 1967 and to put the 101st up to full strength for its deployment. By February 1968, the 82nd was manned at about 60% of its authorized strength. The 3rd Brigade, as the Division Ready Force, was alerted for deployment on February 13, 1968 and the advance units were in the air twenty-four hours later. The remainder of the division was basically shanghaied to get the 3rd Brigade up to 95% of its authorized strength for deployment and 80% of the soldiers who deployed with the brigade had already served at least one tour in Vietnam. Keep in mind the 82nd and, until it deployed in December 1967, the 101st Airborne were the units where most jump qualified troops who remained in the Army were assigned after returning from their tours in Vietnam.

 

The entire 3rd Brigade was in Vietnam by February 26. But when it was alerted, the members of the brigade were not initially told where they were going. Many believed they were going to be jumping into North Korea to rescue the crew of the Pueblo. Most of the pictures of 3rd Brigade soldiers arriving in Vietnam show them wearing field jackets of olive green fatigues since it was cold when they left Fort Bragg. I have heard some members who deployed with the brigade say they were issued jungle fatigues during a stopover in Alaska on the way to Vietnam but I don't believe I have seen any pictures of 82nd troops arriving at Chu Lai wearing them. The move was so rushed that when the first planes of the brigade arrived at Chu Lai, the commander of the Americal Division had not even been told to expect their arrival and there were no plans to house or feed them.

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Thanks Sean, Now that I,m thinking, what about the 1st Bde 5th Inf Div (Mech) out of Carson?

This still comes from a video showing the arrival of the 1st Brigade 5th Infantry Division in Da Nang in July 1968. If, as I believe, these guys are just off the C141s from Fort Carson, then they did deploy from the U.S. in jungle fatigues. Note the unfaded uniforms and shiny boots, new load bearing equipment plus gas masks along with olive green t-shirts and full color SSI.

 

The 1st of the 5th was alerted for Vietnam in March 1968 and deployed in July. Most of its personnel were flown to Vietnam while most of its heavy equipment was shipped. As far as I can tell, both the personnel and equipment of the 11th and 198th Light Infantry Brigades were sent to Vietnam via ship. I have seen, and posted in other topics, pictures of soldiers of the 11th wearing jungle fatigues on the ships with mostly subdued SSI as well as color SSI in a few cases that were apparently issued stateside.

 

I have also seen pictures of soldiers of the 198th wearing jungle fatigues at Fort Hood prior to deployment although I haven't located one showing anyone wearing a 198th SSI stateside.

 

I think most of the 101st was transported to Vietnam by aircraft in 1967 although I'm sure some of the heavier equipment went by ship.

 

As far as I know, the entire 3rd Brigade 82nd Airborne Division, including all of its equipment, went by air and the speed of its deployment probably prevented the troops from being issued jungle fatigues at Fort Bragg.

 

For those units scheduled to ship to Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, there is no reason to think they would deployed in their stateside fatigues only to be immediately issued jungle fatigues when they arrived in Vietnam. That would have been wasteful and counterproductive. The speed of the 82nd's deployment, on the other hand, would have made it more likely they would have deployed with the uniforms they had on hand.

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Here's another on of the 10th Special Forces Group from Fort Devens, MA. 1978 flag football champions. Soldier in the rear is wearing ERDL fatigues while the Colonel kneeling on the front row appears to be wearing straight pocket RDF fatigues.

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The following five shots show members of the 198th Infantry Brigade wearing jungle fatigues at Fort Hood as well as on board the ship carrying them to Vietnam in 1967. There is no sign of a 198th SSI on any of the jungle fatigues but the guy wearing olive green utilities in the last picture seems to be wearing one suggesting they were available stateside before deployment.

 

Other photos can be found here: http://www.charliebattery1-14thartillery.org/id70.html

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If my memory is correct, I seem to remember in July 1970, the soldiers going to RVN as individuals out of Oakland Army Base were issued tropical fatigues and boots and turned in their other clothing.

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If my memory is correct, I seem to remember in July 1970, the soldiers going to RVN as individuals out of Oakland Army Base were issued tropical fatigues and boots and turned in their other clothing.

That's right by that date, maybe a little earlier. It was also done at Fort Lewis too , Lewis being one more departure/arrival point for Southeast Asia

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This one technically applies to the topic although it is fudging a little. This is the 2nd Platoon of Company C 3rd Battalion 506th Infantry wearing jungle fatigues at Fort Campbell, Kentucky a few days before deploying to Vietnam in September 1967.

Love the waving trooper in the top left. Or maybe he was signaling the photographer that he wasn't ready. Lol.

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