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82nd Airborne Combat Aircrew Tan Combat Air Crew IABDU Jacket + SO Tech Falcon Rig


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I finally had time to go to the swap meet today and picked these 2 up together:

 

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The jacket was lightly modified with black velcro, and the tag appears to be a misprint (no camouflage pattern):

 

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Based on this post here http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/72493-a-couple-of-gear-displays/page-4&do=findComment&comment=638054 (Page 4 post #97 by nkomo) the SO Tech Falcon chest rig seems to be consistent with the 82nd Airborne patching on the jacket.

 

 

Is this correct, and do they come from the early part of the Iraq War (2003-2006)?

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Nice pick up. That chest rig is associated with the 82nd Airborne, and was either a contracted or unit purchased piece of kit. I believe I remember them being issued around the 2006-2009ish time frame, but that is only based on what I remember from being stationed at Ft. Bragg around that time. Those aviation uniforms and flight suits were also popular with ground troops conducting mounted and convoy operations prior to the Army wide issue of the flame resistant ACUs.

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I wanted to expand a little more on what I posted above, but guess I can't edit my post.

 

Dudes conducting mounted patrols and convoy operations liked the aviation uniforms for their flame resistant properties. The IED threat was high and guys were suffering horrible burns following an IED blast and subsequent vehicle fire while being strapped in in full kit. Eventually the Army recognized the threat and went to flame resistant uniforms as a standard issue prior to deployments.

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Those aviation uniforms and flight suits were also popular with ground troops conducting mounted and convoy operations prior to the Army wide issue of the flame resistant ACUs.

 

That's funny because I remember when the Aviation BDU or Flight BDU (or whatever they called it) came out in (I think) the late 90's or early 2000's, aviators and air crew HATED them because it meant they looked like everyone else instead of having their wash-and-wear "bag" (aviator's coverall or flight suit.)

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Nice pick up. That chest rig is associated with the 82nd Airborne, and was either a contracted or unit purchased piece of kit. I believe I remember them being issued around the 2006-2009ish time frame, but that is only based on what I remember from being stationed at Ft. Bragg around that time. Those aviation uniforms and flight suits were also popular with ground troops conducting mounted and convoy operations prior to the Army wide issue of the flame resistant ACUs.

Thanks for refreshing my memory on this one, Scott. Apparently, the 325th of the 82nd Airborne had around 2,000 of the SO Tech Falcon's ordered and delivered to the unit. The ones that the 325th originally ordered had one quick release buckle as opposed to the two shown in the original post.

 

As you mentioned, the SO Tech Falcon rigs (two buckle and one buckle versions)were popular with the 82nd Airborne around the time you mentioned. Used to see them all over the place in the surplus shops around Bragg several years ago, but they seem to have disappeared these days.

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Always looking for US and foreign militaria from the Central American wars circa 1970-1990

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The Aviation BDU came out near the end of my service, and some of the people who went to Bosnia got them. They were popular with the maintainers because they could ditch the shirt on a hot day.

 

 

That's funny because I remember when the Aviation BDU or Flight BDU (or whatever they called it) came out in (I think) the late 90's or early 2000's, aviators and air crew HATED them because it meant they looked like everyone else instead of having their wash-and-wear "bag" (aviator's coverall or flight suit.) 

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ABDU was actually out in the early 90s and this is one of those early contract tops possibly from 1991. The 160th SOAR was the first to start using them and you can see them being worn by all of the 160th guys in Somalia back in 93. The regular Army seemed to adopt them around the late mid 90s time frame 95-96ish. I'm wondering if this top was actually a 160th used one and then someone later added the 82d patch to it. Can you see if a velcro strip was removed from where that 82s SSI is sewn on now? The ABDUs and even 27P flight suits the 160th wore always had black velcro on both sleeves for a forward or reverse US flag and one for a name plate. The 160th woodland ABDUs always used black velcro for the patches, some of the later desert tan tops used by them had tan velcro as well. Around 2003 they came out with a newer version of the ABDU called the IABDU which led into the A2CU currently used.

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ABDU was actually out in the early 90s and this is one of those early contract tops possibly from 1991. The 160th SOAR was the first to start using them and you can see them being worn by all of the 160th guys in Somalia back in 93. The regular Army seemed to adopt them around the late mid 90s time frame 95-96ish. I'm wondering if this top was actually a 160th used one and then someone later added the 82d patch to it. Can you see if a velcro strip was removed from where that 82s SSI is sewn on now? The ABDUs and even 27P flight suits the 160th wore always had black velcro on both sleeves for a forward or reverse US flag and one for a name plate. The 160th woodland ABDUs always used black velcro for the patches, some of the later desert tan tops used by them had tan velcro as well. Around 2003 they came out with a newer version of the ABDU called the IABDU which led into the A2CU currently used.

Interesting thought, and makes sense that it may have previously been 160th. Like I mentioned above, these uniforms were also used by ground troops conducting mounted patrols and convoy operations, but would not be standard issue. Maybe the guy bought it used at one of the endless number of surplus stores outside Ft. Bragg prior to deployment.

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Interesting thought, and makes sense that it may have previously been 160th. Like I mentioned above, these uniforms were also used by ground troops conducting mounted patrols and convoy operations, but would not be standard issue. Maybe the guy bought it used at one of the endless number of surplus stores outside Ft. Bragg prior to deployment.

 

Thats a very good possibility that it was a surplus pick up and used. Ive heard stories from former Army Aviators going to surplus stores in the 80s to find the old Nam era 2 piece nomex flight suits to wear. They were still authorized to be worn but were out of the supply system by then. In regards to the ground troop use, are there pics of guys wearing the 2 piece ABDUs? Most of the stuff I had seen from OIF and OEF guys were wearing the 1 piece CWU-27 flight suits in tan. Would be interesting to finally see it.

 

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Thats a very good possibility that it was a surplus pick up and used. Ive heard stories from former Army Aviators going to surplus stores in the 80s to find the old Nam era 2 piece nomex flight suits to wear. They were still authorized to be worn but were out of the supply system by then. In regards to the ground troop use, are there pics of guys wearing the 2 piece ABDUs? Most of the stuff I had seen from OIF and OEF guys were wearing the 1 piece CWU-27 flight suits in tan. Would be interesting to finally see it.

 

I will see if I can come up with some photographic evidence on the 2 piece. You are right about the full flight suits seeming more popular, and easier to find pictures of on Google, etc. The more I go back in my memory bank, I'm starting to think my comments above might be misleading. I feel like my comments made it seem like I had knowledge of theater wide popularity of the aviation uniforms, but in reality I can only speak to my experience.

 

The aviation uniform thing started in our Forward Support Company (FSC) with the commander requesting approval to the Battalion CSM to allow 92F (fuel dudes) to wear the aviation uniforms on deployment, and also requesting the Central Issue Facility (CIF) issue these uniforms to his guys. The justification was that these guys would be driving fuel trucks on convoy operations, and needed flame resistant uniforms in the name of safety. Word spread that these guys would look different from the rest of the formation, but not to mess with them by order of the CSM. This got the gears spinning in the other companies about using flame resistant uniforms on mounted patrols etc. but this was strictly an "outside the wire" uniform. I doremember the 92Fs having the 2 piece uniforms.

 

I've had conversations with other buddies who served in a variety of units about non standard things allowed on deployments "outside the wire" such as "relaxed grooming standards", civilian hiking boots, baseball caps, and flight suits.

 

This kind of stuff would never get back to the battalion chain of command, be captured in photographs (other than personal ones), and would certainly never be cleared by PAO to be released as an "official Army photograph".

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