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Name tapes question


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Interesting. Looks like machine-embroidered onto nylon. And sewn onto the uniform with white thread? Very odd. What does the rest of the uniform look like? Any patches, rank, name tape, etc? I'm pretty sure sewing on a US Army tape with white thread was a no-no but when it comes to RDF uniforms they were often worn by units (SF, Rangers, etc) who didn't neccessarily follow all the rules when it came to uniforms anyway.

 

Would be interested in seeing the rest of the jacket.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Could be. The SF tab marks it as post-1983.

 

1983 was well into the BDU era. Now certainly an SF MSG would probably have a lot of uniforms in his closet including some old RDF cammies from back in the day that RDF was worn by SF guys.

 

The uniform is badly faded but the patches look much, much newer. It's possible that this was a "sterile" uniform at one time (IOW had only the name and US Army tapes, nothing else) and at a later time, the MSG decided to add all his patches to his old sterile uniform. Certainly I've seen stuff like that done.

Still I wonder why a soldier would spend the money (even at $0.50/patch) to have brand new insignia sewn onto a uniform that is so worn it's almost unserviceable.

 

It also seems very possible that someone found a worn old RDF uniform that only had the name and US Army tape and sewed some new insignias onto it to "sex it up" for resale.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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The color and the fading of the threads on the name and US Army tape are consistent with those made in Vietnam during the wartime period.

 

Given the individual's rank, he very likely could have served there. The lack of a right shoulder "combat patch" does not rule this out.

 

Some of the Korean made tapes did the same thing. It all depended on the dyes used for locally made thread.

 

These could have been left over from a previous uniform. While patches were relatively cheap, people tended to do that. The worn tapes might have been his way of saying "I've been there" as well.

 

As far as how good the US made insignia looks.... US made patches usually held up pretty well. The rank and jump wings do show a bit of wear.

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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I have tapes made in the Philippines (Navy), look just like that. They were sewn onto OG-107 fatigues with green (not OD, just Green). I later transitioned to BDUs, and just transferred all the insignia. I have a friend who is a retired US Army (NG/Reserve) COL. his wife sewed all his insignia on by hand with a whip stitch from the time he was a CAPT.

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Good answers, gents.  While we're on this subject - what do you think of this one?  

 

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Looks legit to me. Most soldiers ditched their basic training name and US Army tapes once they got to AIT but some kept their printed tapes.

 

He was an E-4 aviation crewman and probably wore a “bag” (aviators flight suit) on duty anyway.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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I just realized after my last post that the material you see being used for both examples was a standard tape that was issued to supply rooms on a big spool. If needed, most supply rooms had a stamp and letter set, and could make printed tapes. As noted, most troops out of basic opted for better quality tapes. I still have some somewhere from my ROTC days... ditched them as fast as I could.

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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The white thread bothers me. I was in the Army during the entire BDU period and I don't remember ever seeing anybody sew on their name tapes - much less their rank or special skill badges - with white thread.

 

WRT the second uniform, I suppose it's possible that the post sewing shop ran out of black or green thread and the soldier was in a hurry to get his stuff sewed on so he had them do it with white thread. That's certainly one possibility.

 

I'm not a "collector" , more of an "enthusiast." So let me ask you this: Do "collectors" pay more for uniforms that have patches and insignia sewn on than those that don't, on the presumption that the patches and insignia are "legit?"

 

The reason I ask is that if a collector would pay more for a uniform like the one on top (that appears to be an RDF uniform worn by a Special Forces Master Sergeant) then it really opens up the possibility of fraud, people sewing patches onto otherwise unremarkable uniforms in the hopes that a "collector" will pay more for them.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Maybe thread was OD and washed out or faded?

 

 

Gotta say..it really burned my butt when someone had a hack sew job on their uniform..a military uniform should always be machine sewn in my humble opinion..I had all of my dress uniforms machine sewn..and it just looks better to me.

 

Luckily, our dungarees could be stenciled.. :) (and even that could look as jacked up as a soup sandwich..)

 

 

 

*SEMPER FORTIS*

USN '92-'96 USS GEORGE WASHINGTON CVN-73

HONOR*COURAGE*COMMITMENT

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Good answers, gents. While we're on this subject - what do you think of this one?

 

Looks just like one of my uniforms, basic training issue stamped nylon name tape that I never upgraded. I think cheap government thread that was OD green and faded out to its white base over several years of laundering makes the most sense.

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One SFC Laurence Young, Drill Sergeant Fort Dix New Jersey 1975-77, as we see the 1968 Nylon U.S. ARMY and ribbed NAME tapes could be worn by seniors NCOs into the 70s, and not just by trainees, though by the late 70s it had that "Trainee" stigma right? I know it did in early 1980. Young by the way was a Son Tay Raider.

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One SFC Laurence Young, Drill Sergeant Fort Dix New Jersey 1975-77, as we see the 1968 Nylon U.S. ARMY and ribbed NAME tapes could be worn by seniors NCOs into the 70s, and not just by trainees, though by the late 70s it had that "Trainee" stigma right? I know it did in early 1980. Young by the way was a Son Tay Raider.

 

Good stuff.

 

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post-34986-0-12442300-1471999598.jpg

One SFC Laurence Young, Drill Sergeant Fort Dix New Jersey 1975-77, as we see the 1968 Nylon U.S. ARMY and ribbed NAME tapes could be worn by seniors NCOs into the 70s, and not just by trainees, though by the late 70s it had that "Trainee" stigma right? I know it did in early 1980. Young by the way was a Son Tay Raider.

 

I seem to recall that the printed (basic training) name tapes were not uncommon in the OG-107/507 era. Ditto for the pin-on rank.

 

If SFC Young had been a drill sergeant 10 years later he almost certainly would have had both embroidered name tapes and sew-on rank, as that was the custom by the mid-1980's.

 

It's kind of funny, we don't necessarily think of "fashion" when it comes to military uniforms but military personnel are no less susceptible to "trend" and "fashion" than our civilian counterparts.

 

Things that start out as "optional" eventually become the "de facto standard" because so many people are doing it that if a soldier DOESN'T, he stands out, and not in a good way. Best example of this I can think of from my own experience is starched BDUs. When BDUs were first issued in the early 80's soldiers were told they didn't need to be pressed. Well, they looked like crap so pretty soon, soldiers who wanted to distinguish themselves would iron their uniforms - but we were told that starch was strictly VERBOTEN as it would damage the IR camouflage or something.

 

Of course, in the humid parts of the world (where the Army seems to have a disproportionate number of installations: Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, etc) ironing without starch would mean your uniform would look good for about 15 minutes and then once the moisture set in, you would go back to looking like a rag bag.

 

So soldiers started starching their uniforms on the sly. They would use "sizing" instead of starch (even though "sizing" is pretty much the same thing.) NCO's would ask their soldiers "Is that starch on that uniform?" and the soldier would reply "NO, Sergeant, it's SIZING." and the NCO would say "Good man!" It was pretty much winked at because nobody wanted to look like a sack of crap.

 

Finally in the late 1980's the Army "authorized" what had been the de facto practice for years anyway and authorized starch on BDUs.

 

I think the same thing happened with name tapes. During the draft era, when lower enlisted soldiers weren't paid very much, it didn't make sense to spend your beer money on getting embroidered name tapes when Uncle Sam issued you a perfectly serviceable set, and you were only going to be in for two years anyway.

 

But once the all-volunteer force came into being, soldiers who were "career minded" wanted to cultivate a "sharper" look, so by the early 80's most of them ditched their basic-training printed name tapes for embroidered ones that looked better and didn't fade the way the printed ones did. This usually happened either at AIT (Advanced Individual Training, after basic) or once they got to their first duty station.

 

Sew on rank was a funny thing. When I was in "leg" (i.e. non-airborne) units, nobody below the rank of E-4 ever got sew on rank. The thought of a PV2 or PFC getting sew on rank seemed silly, since soldiers typically don't wear that rank for very long. The way we looked at it, if you were a PV2 or PFC and got sew on rank, it meant you planned to stay at that rank for a long time.

 

Now, when I got to Fort Bragg in 1992, I noticed that almost every PFC and PV2 in the 82nd Airborne had sew on rank. At first I thought it was funny like "wow, they have a lot of career PV2s and PFCs in the 82nd!"

 

Well, this is because when jumping you have to take off your pin-on rank (to prevent injury since a part of the parachute harness goes over the collar.) Removing the pin on rank leads to a lot of lost pin on rank so most soldiers simply get it sewn on, and that became the de facto standard at Fort Bragg.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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The exact thing applied to the 50's-60s era tapes, the White NAME tape in particular (not counting the color branch NAME tapes of the 50s), here many, to include senior O's and NCO's just went with the standard stamped type on White web, ditto by 66-67 with the stamped type on OD Web, now both NAME and U.S. ARMY, these being relatively inexpensive from the clothing the stores, and deemed these stamped one's sufficient.

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The one that I posted, the aircrew one with the basic training-type tapes, is post-Desert Storm. Dunno if that means much.

 

In my experience that's unusual but not unheard of.

 

You have to wonder why the soldier went to the trouble of having his rank sewn on (which is optional, not required) and didn't change over his name tapes at the same time, but I can tell you from experience that having sew on rank is about convenience as much as it is about appearance. With pin-on rank you have to make sure the rank is properly pinned on each time you wear the uniform. Also pin-on rank has a nasty habit of getting caught up in stuff like camo netting, which soldiers spend a lot of time putting up when they are in the field. Finally pin-on metal rank gets worn and looks like crap and has to be touched up with black paint periodically.

 

With sew on rank, by contrast, once you get it sewn on, you don't have to mess with it again. You iron the collar flat and it looks good. No worrying about it falling off, no worrying about it becoming worn, no worry about it getting caught on crap. Just pull the shirt out of the dryer, press and starch it and you're good to go.

 

I never wore pin-on rank after I made E-4. My pin-on rank only stayed on my uniform until I had the opportunity to get proper sew on rank put on all my uniforms. Even my desert uniforms had sew on rank.

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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