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Why would US Air Force Captain wear British camouflage?


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I picked up this shirt a couple of months ago as I thought is was interesting given the different assortment of insignia. This might be a pretty easy question for someone to answer but why would a US Air Force officer be wearing British or UK camouflage and RAF insignia? I am guessing he served in some capacity of a joint unit perhaps, but what role might he have played? It is interesting that he was also authorized to wear a US Army Ranger tab. At first this might seem like a put together piece, but I bought this at a thrift store and there were at least 6 or 7 other shirts that obviously came from this same guy. All had varying degrees of this same insignia although this was the only which still had the RAF Regiment patches intact. Some still had his name tape, which was Hagemeyer. Some were US Woodland pattern, some were Desert pattern, but this was the only foreign camo pattern. All of them had the Ranger tab still present.

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Since I don't see jump wings or pilot wings my best guess is the person based on what you tell us about the other shirts may have been a USAF WX Officer who went to Ranger School and graduated. The AF provides weather support to the Army

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GOD Bless Texas And All That Serve Her

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He might have been an exchange officer with the RAF.

 

I agree. I was just reading about Robin Olds experiences as an exchange officer in 1948 flying Meteor jets.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Thank you for the responses. What would an exchange officer do? I can remember foreign exchange students in high school, I am guessing this would similar perhaps? As m1ashooter pointed out, I did notice there were no wings or specialty type badges either.

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Exchange officers typically assume the duties of an officer in the host unit. It means they have to learn how the host nation operates, everything from radio procedures to how to call for air support.

 

I remember when I was in ROTC, we visited the US Army Engineer School at Ft. Belvoir. One of the instructors who walked us through the bridging section was a British captain, who delighted in how simple a Bailey bridge was vs. the equipment heavy US method of building bridges.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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  • 5 years later...

Good exchange officers blend in with the host unit. In this case, I suspect he wore the British camo to blend with his troops in the field and chose to match the RAF Regiment method of wear of insignia. Not an uncommon solution to a simple problem.

 

In the 1980s, we (USAF folks who deployed as part of Army units) were constantly changing our insignia (bright vs subdued; location/type of name tags, etc). Finally, our wing commander said to ignore the USAF regulations and wear what the Army wore. Problem solved.

 

In a Reconnaissance Technical Group in Hawaii (photo interpretation, targeting, etc), we had an Australian exchange officer as an integral part of our operation, all of which was in an SCI vault (lots of "NOFORN" markings). He carried a letter in his pocket saying that he was to be considered as an American for the purposes of his position, so he had complete access. As I recall, the only modification he made was to wear a USAF blue name tag.

Jeff Floyd

The universe is made up of neutrons, protons, electrons and morons

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I have a vintage pre-1980 tropical shirt with USAF Europe patch sewn on the Brest pocket. Theres a few photo's floating about on the 'tinter web of USAF personal wearing mix of OD green utility trousers and P68 DPM lined smocks with USAF patches applied. The photo's seem to date late 70's or early 80's. 

 

I'll see if I can find the photo. 

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