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Airborne Tab without SSI


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Hello everybody,

 

I found on ebay the early version of a DCU with all green insignia, rank and combat patch.

In particular the DCU in question is of a CSM who was in the 2nd ranger battalion (the combat patch) and made a combat jump, probabily grenada, due to the presence of the gold star on his wings. The DCU Has a CIB, master wings, pathfinder, us army tape on the chest, us reversed flag and combat patch on the right sleeve and on the left sleeve the ranger tab and airborne tab but no SSI

 

Now the problem: I know that while the ranger tab is a qualification so that you can wear it everytime with every patch since you've completed the course, the same is not with the airborne tab. Indeed I read everywhere that it is not a qualificaiton tab but a part of the SSI and it goes with it.

 

Searching on google I found that the absence of the SSI on the left sleeve can be normal and can be due to the fact the the soldier was a member of the HQDA which at that time had not a patch so that members of that unit did wear nothing.

However the problem of the airborne tab alone remains. Reading on another forum I found something written by our member nkomo, who asked a 20 years experience soldier, who said that, according to his experience, it was not that uncommon to see the airborne tab alone on the left sleeve without the SSI in that specific period. This because the soldier could be assigned to a ABN qualified unit which had not a SSI at that moment and so that airborne tab was worn alone..

 

 

I would like to listen other opinions because I like a lot the DCU and I would buy it immediately if it would be legit.

 

Thank to all

 

Roby

 

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INTERESTING DCU

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Hmm.

 

Not feeling it. The US Army tape has been taken off another jacket and lengthened, to fit the DCU pocket. I have seen this before on enlisted soldiers DCU/BDU. I wouldnt expect it from a CSM. It all just feels a bit too messy to me.

 

I personally have not seen a DCU with just an airborne tab, doesn't mean it wasn't done.

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Hmm.

 

Not feeling it. The US Army tape has been taken off another jacket and lengthened, to fit the DCU pocket. I have seen this before on enlisted soldiers DCU/BDU. I wouldnt expect it from a CSM. It all just feels a bit too messy to me.

 

I personally have not seen a DCU with just an airborne tab, doesn't mean it wasn't done.

Thank you for your opinion!!

Roby

 

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INTERESTING DCU

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Yeah, if there's no indication of an SSI below the Airborne tab then I'd have to throw the BS flag out. I've heard of guys putting Airborne tabs on their caps but never an airborne tab by itself on a shoulder. There should always be an SSI underneath an airborne tab.

 

I also agree with Ewart that a Ranger CSM would probably have a sharper looking uniform for garrison wear (for field wear, Rangers often wore totally stripped uniforms without any identifying marks on them.) DCUs were introduced at the tail end of the 1st gulf war and by the time of OEF (Afghanistan) and OIF (Iraq) most of the nametapes, rank insignia and badges would have been in desert tan, not green (you often see green subdued patches, tabs and badges on DBDUs because the DBDU era ended before tan patches and insignia became common.)

 

Here's the thing: There are enough of these uniforms floating around and enough institutional knowledge (much of it gleaned from boards like this one) that "dummying up" a put-together like this one would be easy. Sad to say but with a couple of hours and a sewing machine I could come up with a pretty convincing one just from the stuff I can get from the surplus store down the street.

 

My thought on uniforms like this is to not impart any special significance to any of the patches or tabs unless you have some kind of concrete proof (such as a photo of this exact uniform being worn in theater by an actual person.)

 

IOW I would say that in my opinion it is "worth" whatever you might pay for a stripped DCU jacket and what you might pay for the individual patches if you were buying them from a dealer, and not a penny more.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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I also agree with Ewart that a Ranger CSM would probably have a sharper looking uniform for garrison wear (for field wear, Rangers often wore totally stripped uniforms without any identifying marks on them.) DCUs were introduced at the tail end of the 1st gulf war and by the time of OEF (Afghanistan) and OIF (Iraq) most of the nametapes, rank insignia and badges would have been in desert tan, not green (you often see green subdued patches, tabs and badges on DBDUs because the DBDU era ended before tan patches and insignia became common.)

 

 

I'm sure you already know this, but just to be clear to any new collectors reading this thread, there are lots of example of 100% legit DCU uniforms with OD green patches/insignia. There was at least one unit (I believe in the 3rd Infantry Division) that intentionally continued this practice till 2004/2005, right at the end of the DCU era.

 

Other units in OEF/OIF used OD patches/insignia, including the 173rd Airborne, the 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, etc.

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I'm sure you already know this, but just to be clear to any new collectors reading this thread, there are lots of example of 100% legit DCU uniforms with OD green patches/insignia. There was at least one unit (I believe in the 3rd Infantry Division) that intentionally continued this practice till 2004/2005, right at the end of the DCU era.

 

Other units in OEF/OIF used OD patches/insignia, including the 173rd Airborne, the 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, etc.

 

We actually deployed with green patches on our DCUs in early 2004 because our unit (115th FA Bde, WYARNG) did not have DA-issued tan patches yet. Halfway through our tour we got our tan patches and were then ordered to take the green patches off and replace them with tan. All our other insignia were tan.

 

Having said that, by mid 2004 seeing any green patches on a DCU was rare, at least in Kuwait where I was.

 

In any case, it's not just the green insignia that make this uniform suspect, at least to me. The fact that there is an airborne tab and apparently no sign that it ever had an SSI underneath it is enough to raise red flags.

 

I understand that when you're talking about wartime issue you can't really deal in absolutes because there are always exceptions to the rule, and people (or entire units sometimes) who just ignored the regs.

 

But, this being a collector's site, I think it's legitimate to warn potential collectors about a possibly fake item before they spend a lot of money on it. Certainly it is possible that this uniform is completely legit. It's also possible (and very likely) that a seller with a mundane uniform could try to "sex up" the uniform by adding a bunch of "high speed" patches (combat jump wings, CSM rank, 2nd ranger batt scroll) to sell the uniform at a higher price to an unsuspecting collector. ;)

 

Caveat emptor.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Martin you centered exactly the point on which I had doubts. When I saw this DCU on ebay that fact that it doesn't have any SSI below the airborne tab make me suspicious because I've never seen the airborne tab alone, except for some cap, as you already said.

I thought that maybe this doubt was moved by my incomplete knowledge about those items and in some very very particular situation it can occur but your opinion confirmed what I was thinking.

Obviously the problem of put together DCU always exists and it is really a shame, especially for collectors like us.

 

Thank you very much for your detailed explanation, very appreciated

Roby

 

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INTERESTING DCU

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All I can say is that I just hope that collectors out there aren't paying a lot of money for these DCUs.

 

I can understand collecting utility uniforms for their historic significance, but utility uniforms, by their very nature, are designed to be, in essence, generic, interchangeable parts with very little differentiation or distinction to them.

 

Put another way, ask yourself if it's really worth it to pay several hundred dollars/Euros for a DCU or BDU that was "worn by Gen _______" or was worn by a combat vet with a "mustard stain" (combat jump star) or some other unusual decorations when you could, in fact, recreate that exact uniform yourself and it would be absolutely identical in every way to a "genuine" one.

 

Unless it is also accompanied by other accoutrements from the same veteran (or better yet, a photo of the veteran wearing that exact uniform) would consider any "high speed" BDU or DCU (high ranking officer or unusual badges) to be no more valuable than a run-of-the-mill uniform with no badges, patches or tabs on it.

 

I would contrast this with a nice WWII uniform jacket that has period-correct insignia, sewn-on ribbons, a laundry mark and other stuff that can positively link the uniform to a specific unit, campaign and service member.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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All I can say is that I just hope that collectors out there aren't paying a lot of money for these DCUs.

 

 

I know what you mean. I have DCUs in my closet right now. Wouldn't take much to change out a few patches and suddenly, this uniform belonged to a dude in some Super-duper paratrooper unit.

 

As Cap Camouflage Pattern I said, it's pretty easy to do.

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I would contrast this with a nice WWII uniform jacket that has period-correct insignia, sewn-on ribbons, a laundry mark and other stuff that can positively link the uniform to a specific unit, campaign and service member.

 

I bet the collectors of 2056, will be saying I can't believe people are collecting these uniforms from the 2040's instead of nice turn of the century BDUs and DCUs'.

 

 

I know what you mean. I have DCUs in my closet right now. Wouldn't take much to change out a few patches and suddenly, this uniform belonged to a dude in some Super-duper paratrooper unit.

 

As Cap Camouflage Pattern I said, it's pretty easy to do.

 

It may be easy to do, but there are some serious BDU and DCU collectors on this forum, myself included, but its very hard to get right. There are many ways of telling a genuine work from a faked or spiced up one.

 

I liken them to the tropical coats from Vietnam, one day there should/could be a serious collector market for these items.

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Saw this jacket on e-bay as well and after looking at the pics, decided to avoid it. It also was (or is?) on there for a couple of weeks without anyone picking it up. The price, if legit, would have been good but without anyone buying it, you get the clear idea that its leaning on the 'NO' side of the equation. Lots of little red flags on this one.

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What's that old saying, "if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is." I personally would have avoided this uniform because of a lack of a name tape and unit patch on the left sleeve. The allure of a mustard stain on the parachute badge is simply not there for me if the uniform can't be identified to an individual.

 

As previously stated it's not uncommon to see early OEF and OIF DCUs with woodland insignia. And I've see lots of DCUs with reused woodland insignia and name tapes.

 

I can tell you that there is actually already a huge collecting community for DBDUs (chocolate chip), DCUs as well as desert patches. Not only here in the US but oversees as well. Al and I just released our new book "Desert Uniforms, Patches, and Insignia of the US Armed Forces" last week and even months before it was published we had nearly 400 collectors on our FB Group at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/DesertUniform

 

I've been collecting DCUs for nearly a decade and they are just not as plentiful and cheap as they used to be. Supplies of good quality DCUs are drying up and the cost is rising on the most desirable (modified, airborne, special operations, Coast Guard, Navy GITMO, patched helmet covers). So if you are thinking about collecting in this area, don't wait. Yes, enhancing DCUs with desirable badges and patches is starting to be a problem, but not nearly as much as it will be in 10 or more years down the road.

 

Kevin

Kevin

 

My book, "Desert Uniforms, Patches, and Insignia of the US Armed Forces" is available on Amazon and other booksellers World-wide: www.amazon.com/Desert-Uniforms-Patches-Insignia-Forces/dp/0764352067

 

Check out our Facebook group on the book and all things Desert Uniform related: http://www.facebook.com/groups/DesertUniform

 

Always looking for:

- Saudi camel tongue rank fobs - DCU Uniforms & Patches - AAFES Pogs - Parachute Rigger Badges - Berlin Brigade Items - Pershing Rifles Items - East German Para Items-



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