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US Army use of the M1955 Flak Vest in Vietnam


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Just some things I have noticed and thought were interesting.

 

 

 

On 31 October 1968 1st Battalion, 40th Artillery, 108th Artillery Group wrote in their Quarterly Operations Report-Lessons Learned:

"(1) Body Armor, Fragmentation. Protective, with 3/4th collar FSN 8470-823-7371

 

(a) OBSERVATION. US Army Body Armor FSN 8470-823-7371 appears to be less durable and to provide less protection than the USMC body armor FSN 8470-576-4193.

 

( B) EVALUATION. Under normal wearing conditions in this battalion the US Army body armor begins to deteriorate in approximately four months. The seams of the exterior covering tear and the inner protective webbing begins to roll and mat. The US Army body armor clings to the body preventing adequate air circulation around the upper body, thus greatly contributing to heat casualties. The USMC body armor, worn by many of the men in this battalion, does not have nay of these faults. It is also believed that the fragment stopping power of the USMC body armor is greater. An EIR concerning the durability faults of the US army body armor was submitted by this organization on 30 April 1968.

 

© RECOMMENDATION. That armor, body armor fragmentation protective, FSN 8470-823-7371 (US Army) be reevaluated and compared with armor, fragmentation protective FSN 8470-576-4193 (USMC) for durability and fragment protection and that the better armor be adopted for use by both services."

 

HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, VIETNAM responded:

 

"2. Comments follow: a. Reference item. concerning body armor, fragmentation, protective, with 3/4 collar FSN 8470-823-7371, page 6, paragraph 2b(l): nonconcur. The unit submitted an EIR on the Army's body armor which will result in a reevaluation of the vest. Through an interservice supply stockage agreement, USMC body armor could be requisitioned by the Army. Meanwhile, a new variable type body armor is undergoing evaluation by selected USARV units. The new vest was developed by Natick Laboratories and is designed to provide protection against fragmentation and small arms fire with the addition of ballistic plates in chest and back pockets."

 

 

Some soldiers of 1st Battalion 6th Infantry, 198th Infantry Brigade (Light), 23rd Infantry Division wore M1955 Flak Jackets

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These two were filmed on 15 February 1968. There are not very good screen shots but the first has some rank on his helmet, I think it may be Major. Both men have color 23rd ID SSI (not visible in these screenshots)
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They are also seen in this picture. The man center left is the same as the 2nd man from the video. The man center back appears to be wearing an M1955, he looks similar to the 1st man in the video but doesn't appear to has insignia on his helmet. I am unsure if he is the same man. The RTO in both the pictues in the video is the same. Also of note is this unit wore a good number of handmade ammo vests.

 

101st Airborne, Camp Eagle 1970.

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If you have any info on the Army wearing M1955 or other USMC vests please share.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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interesting, it's also significant that these Army troops are in units located in I Corps, the Americal and the 101's base Camp Eagle are co located with the 1st Marine Division, I would gather these were acquired from their stocks.

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interesting, it's also significant that these Army troops are in units located in I Corps, the Americal and the 101's base Camp Eagle are co located with the 1st Marine Division, I would gather these were acquired from their stocks.

Good observation. One member of 1st bn 40th Arty said "I was probably at Con Thien more than any other fire base" Con Thien was a USMC base.

 

1st Bn 40th Arty was part of XXIV Corps which was under the operational control of 3rd MEF. 1st Bn 40th Arty frequently supported Marine units.

 

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Picture taken by Larry P Shaff Svc. Btry, 1/40th Arty. Feb. 8th - Nov. 19th 1968. It's not captioned so I'm not sure who it's of, but I assume it's a member of 1st Bn

 

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Jim Haring Svc Btry 1/40th Arty. Mar. 68 - Oct. 68.

 

both from: http://www.willpete.com/1stbn40tharty.htm

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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haha, guess platoon was trying to make up for all the marines in FMJ wearing 3/4th Collar Vests

 

 

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XO of 3/5 Cav some time between Feb. to May. 1970.

from Edd Rutherford: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eddr/1224509764/in/album-72157601639224305/

 

Another I Corps unit.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taken by Bob Mahmood. 2nd Bn 94th Arty. April 1967 - April 1968,

from: http://willpete.com/2nd_battalion_94th_artillery.htm

 

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By James R. Fullenwider. A Battery 2nd Bn 94th Arty Dec. 1970 - Nov. 1971.

from: http://willpete.com/2nd_battalion_94th_artillery.htm

 

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Charles W. Kelly. Hq Btry, 2nd Bn 94th Arty. Sep. 1967- Sep. 1968.

from: http://willpete.com/2nd_battalion_94th_artillery.htm

 

All at Camp Carroll I believe.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taken by Alan Lammi. March 1970 - jan 1971. At LZ Sharon.

He also served with Marines. So either this image shows a soldier with an M1955 or a marine with a 3/4 collar vest.

from: http://willpete.com/...h_artillery.htm

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RTO Dave Bennet

 

Taken by Barry "Bear" C DeVita HHQ Battery 2/94 May 1966 - 9 April 1967

from: http://willpete.com/...h_artillery.htm

 

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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by General Trefry

from http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/

 

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by LT Sims McKnight of C and Service Battery 2/94 1966

from http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/

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Lynden "Couvi" Couvillion Service Battery 2/94 Camp Evans December 1969 or January1970

from http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2/94th Arty was also located in I Corps, Dong Ha and was at first under the command of III Marine Amphibious Force after it's arrival till March 1968. Other I Corps locations, Camp Carroll, Quang Tri, Da Nang and Phu Bai.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Sp4 Jose Rivera & James E Henke 1st Plt, A Co, 4th Bn, 47th Bn, 2nd BCT, 9th ID

 

They may be borrowing Navy M1955s while onboard

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A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quote

 

Operational Report - Lessons Learned, HQ, 2D Battalion (175mm) (SP), 94th Artillery for quarterly period ending 31 January 1967. 

PART I: OBSERVATIONS (LESSONS LEARNED)

4. (U) Logistics 

d. Item: Shortage of Armor, Body Protective

Discussion: The unit arrived in Vietnam without body protective armor. The road march from Da Nang to Dong Ha and from Chu Lai to the base camp location were through contested territory. Two hundred protective armor jackets were available from the 1st Log Command and an additional 300 were borrowed from the USMC.

Observations: Issue of body protective armor to deploying units in CONUS would prevent this problem.

 

 

Reading this it sounded to me like they borrowed the vests only briefly for their road march, but based on the photos I posted earlier showing more than a dozen soldiers of 2/94 wearing M1955 vests, some as late as 1970, it seems they probably didn't return them. 

 

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/2/2019 at 5:59 PM, Cap Camouflage Pattern I said:

101st Airborne, Camp Eagle 1970.

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Camp Eagle, Vietnam. An MP from the 101st Abn Div, tells the driver of a truck to disembark as he prepares to search the truck for illegal drugs. 1971 Photo by 1LT Brett Fakenstine 221st Sig Co 

 

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Camp Eagle, Vietnam. An MP from the 101st Abn Div, searches the engine of a truck for illegal drugs as the truck's passengers look on. 1971 Photo by 1LT Brett Fakenstine 221st Sig Co

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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1967-11 - C Co, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, 25th Inf Division

 

"1967/10, Operation Barking Sands, Ho Bo Woods — The final march to Cu Chi in heavy rain. A long and costly operation finally ends. The 25th Division band played as we tried to march by with heavy equipment and tired legs. It all seemed a bit surreal. I’m not sure of the names, but I think Alverez is in the bottom left and Sgt. Seiber is center with the aiming circle. Lt. Miller is probably just to Seiber’s right. Lt. Miller was killed a month or so later in the Katum area on Operation Yellowstone. Alverez was killed on Mar. 2, 1968 in an ambush at Hoc Mon."

 

Photo by Edward Episcopo on flickr

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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