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Hello everyone. I have made use of the expertise on this fantastic site many times over the course of gathering my small militaria collection and finally decided to join myself. First I would like to say I very much appreciate that forums like this exist and hope that in the future I’ll be able to contribute to it myself rather than just benefit from the work of others. So I hope someone here can assist me in that endeavor by educating me. I bought this 82nd Airborne patched DCU from eBay just yesterday. I have been buying strictly clean uniforms because I’m very wary of being scammed. But this one really appealed to me and looked good to my untrained eye so I decided to take a chance. So my question is does this appear to be an all original DCU? Or does it look put together to those of you much more knowledgeable than I? Thank you very much in advance. 

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Looks fine to me.  I was in Iraq in 2004 and spent a month at Fort Bragg to get our DCU's and other gear before we shipped to Iraq.  That looks typical of any uniform sewn at one of the many sew shops off base.  The color of the thread and the color of the embroidery on the name tape and U.S. Army tape are identical to mine.  The combat patch and CIB would most likely have been added overseas but every big base and even some smaller ones had sew shops.  A good way to be sure is to turn the shirt inside out and view the areas where items are sewn on the uniform.  If they have been on there for some time the material will be somewhat puckered at those locations.  Based on the tag that uniform was well worn so the puckering should be there if the patches are original to the jacket. Oh, one other item.  There should be evidence of the flag being sewn on the right sleeve a half inch below the shoulder seam. It would have been moved down after the combat patch was sewn on, unless that Soldier already had an 82nd combat patch from an earlier deployment.  That is not impossible for an E4 at that time, but probably unlikely.

All that being said anything is really possible at that time period.  For example, in Jan of 2004 some DCU sizes were in short supply so I was issued two new tops and two used tops.  The used tops were really used and based on the shadows the original owner was from a USASOC unit.  So if someone else got hold of one of my tops they would probably say it was a put together because the shirts are really worn but the patches and other items look much newer.  Also there would be distinct evidence looking at the inside of the jacket that other patches were there first.   We also had some of our uniforms modified by adding pockets, zippers, etc.  We also bought some barely used USAF contract DCUs as spares.  So a collector would say an Army Soldier would not have been issued USAF DCUs so the uniform is a fake, but we wore them and some made for the civilian market such as Tru Spec. I had two uniforms that were dated 1991 so many collectors would either say they were from late Guplh War period or the in between deployments to Kuwait.  We also had or bought patches made in theatre so some of those patches look almost new because we bought them late in our tour, while the name tapes etc, look well worn.  So in some cases, unless you wore that uniform, you'd never know if it was real or a put together.

 

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Thank you for both your thorough reply and your service. I tried the best I could to do what research, if you can call it that, was possible. I looked through as many photos of the 82nd around the 2004 time frame as I could find online and everything appeared to line up. I’ll certainly look inside at the thread as you describe. The SSI patches look a tad faded and slightly worn to me which is good but I am no expert obviously. I’m considering getting a copy of Desert Uniforms and Insignia of US Armed Forces after seeing some high praise for that work here on the forum. My collecting proclivities do not have a narrow focus as I have a bit of an eclectic taste so Iv never devoted the time to become specialized in any particular subject. However I find these DCU’s very interesting and even beautiful in their own right both aesthetically and for what they represent so perhaps I’ll begin to narrow my interest. Thank you again.   

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Also just out of curiosity since I can’t seem to find any information related to this, Iv seen a couple TRU SPEC patched BDUs for sale on eBay. Some have looked pretty decent aside from the fact they are labeled TRU SPEC and made in Honduras. Is it known if it was somewhat common for soldiers to buy these aftermarket BDUs for official wear? 

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8 hours ago, AKC123 said:

Also just out of curiosity since I can’t seem to find any information related to this, Iv seen a couple TRU SPEC patched BDUs for sale on eBay. Some have looked pretty decent aside from the fact they are labeled TRU SPEC and made in Honduras. Is it known if it was somewhat common for soldiers to buy these aftermarket BDUs for official wear? 

The uniform looks fine to me.  For whatever reason, you'll find that 82nd Airborne uniforms tend to be one of the most common ones you'll find. your top is dated 2003, so any deployment after that time period is a possibility up to the end of the DCU era.  Both Tru Spec and Propper were bought and used by service members.  I'll provide a couple of links below for other groups you might find interesting.

Desert Uniform Group on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DesertUniform/

The OEF/OIF Board

https://oefoif.forumotion.net/

and a sub board on there the "scammers/cheats/theives" board which will tell you which sellers on Ebay to avoid

 

https://oefoif.forumotion.net/f16-scammers-cheats-thieves-other-unpleasant-experiences

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AKC - Glad to see you are a member here and have sought out the opinions of others.  I'm the seller of the uniform.  (Small world in collecting.)  My reputation stands behind every sale.  Happy Hunting!!

Semper Fi

Jeff

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3 minutes ago, BagmanL6 said:

AKC - Glad to see you are a member here and have sought out the opinions of others.  I'm the seller of the uniform.  (Small world in collecting.)  My reputation stands behind every sale.  Happy Hunting!!

Thanks to everyone for the information and advice. And Bagman no offense was intended so I hope none were given. I’ll certainly keep an eye on your listings from now on. 

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Absolutely no offense taken at all.  If that impression was given my apologies.  Simply wanted to put my name to the item within the community to provide you with more confidence.   Unfortunately modern items are being faked as well so always good to do due diligence.

Semper Fi

Jeff

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Great first hand experience! Thanks 32sbct for taking time to write it out and post it. Excellent descriptions and explanations.

12 hours ago, 32sbct said:

Looks fine to me.  I was in Iraq in 2004 and spent a month at Fort Bragg to get our DCU's and other gear before we shipped to Iraq.  That looks typical of any uniform sewn at one of the many sew shops off base.  The color of the thread and the color of the embroidery on the name tape and U.S. Army tape are identical to mine.  The combat patch and CIB would most likely have been added overseas but every big base and even some smaller ones had sew shops.  A good way to be sure is to turn the shirt inside out and view the areas where items are sewn on the uniform.  If they have been on there for some time the material will be somewhat puckered at those locations.  Based on the tag that uniform was well worn so the puckering should be there if the patches are original to the jacket. Oh, one other item.  There should be evidence of the flag being sewn on the right sleeve a half inch below the shoulder seam. It would have been moved down after the combat patch was sewn on, unless that Soldier already had an 82nd combat patch from an earlier deployment.  That is not impossible for an E4 at that time, but probably unlikely.

All that being said anything is really possible at that time period.  For example, in Jan of 2004 some DCU sizes were in short supply so I was issued two new tops and two used tops.  The used tops were really used and based on the shadows the original owner was from a USASOC unit.  So if someone else got hold of one of my tops they would probably say it was a put together because the shirts are really worn but the patches and other items look much newer.  Also there would be distinct evidence looking at the inside of the jacket that other patches were there first.   We also had some of our uniforms modified by adding pockets, zippers, etc.  We also bought some barely used USAF contract DCUs as spares.  So a collector would say an Army Soldier would not have been issued USAF DCUs so the uniform is a fake, but we wore them and some made for the civilian market such as Tru Spec. I had two uniforms that were dated 1991 so many collectors would either say they were from late Guplh War period or the in between deployments to Kuwait.  We also had or bought patches made in theatre so some of those patches look almost new because we bought them late in our tour, while the name tapes etc, look well worn.  So in some cases, unless you wore that uniform, you'd never know if it was real or a put together.

 

BKW

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/8/2020 at 8:29 PM, 32sbct said:

Looks fine to me.  I was in Iraq in 2004 and spent a month at Fort Bragg to get our DCU's and other gear before we shipped to Iraq.  That looks typical of any uniform sewn at one of the many sew shops off base.  The color of the thread and the color of the embroidery on the name tape and U.S. Army tape are identical to mine.  The combat patch and CIB would most likely have been added overseas but every big base and even some smaller ones had sew shops.  A good way to be sure is to turn the shirt inside out and view the areas where items are sewn on the uniform.  If they have been on there for some time the material will be somewhat puckered at those locations.  Based on the tag that uniform was well worn so the puckering should be there if the patches are original to the jacket. Oh, one other item.  There should be evidence of the flag being sewn on the right sleeve a half inch below the shoulder seam. It would have been moved down after the combat patch was sewn on, unless that Soldier already had an 82nd combat patch from an earlier deployment.  That is not impossible for an E4 at that time, but probably unlikely.

All that being said anything is really possible at that time period.  For example, in Jan of 2004 some DCU sizes were in short supply so I was issued two new tops and two used tops.  The used tops were really used and based on the shadows the original owner was from a USASOC unit.  So if someone else got hold of one of my tops they would probably say it was a put together because the shirts are really worn but the patches and other items look much newer.  Also there would be distinct evidence looking at the inside of the jacket that other patches were there first.   We also had some of our uniforms modified by adding pockets, zippers, etc.  We also bought some barely used USAF contract DCUs as spares.  So a collector would say an Army Soldier would not have been issued USAF DCUs so the uniform is a fake, but we wore them and some made for the civilian market such as Tru Spec. I had two uniforms that were dated 1991 so many collectors would either say they were from late Guplh War period or the in between deployments to Kuwait.  We also had or bought patches made in theatre so some of those patches look almost new because we bought them late in our tour, while the name tapes etc, look well worn.  So in some cases, unless you wore that uniform, you'd never know if it was real or a put together.

 

So I don’t see any evidence of the flag being previously sewn higher on the right sleeve but it’s entirely possible that my untrained eye can’t tell. Also there are three different color thread types on the underside stitching of the patches. The BOS, Name Tape and SSI appear to be stitched on the back side with whiteish color thread. The Rank insignia and Jump Wings have a dark green thread stitched on the back side. And the CIB, Combat Patch and Flag have a tan colored thread stitched to the back side. So would the soldier have originally used the white thread when the uniform was first issued then used green whenever they earned the jump wings and were promoted then finally added the CIB, Flag and combat patch using the tan thread? 

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On 5/9/2020 at 7:35 AM, BagmanL6 said:

AKC - Glad to see you are a member here and have sought out the opinions of others.  I'm the seller of the uniform.  (Small world in collecting.)  My reputation stands behind every sale.  Happy Hunting!!

  Jeff is one of the good guys in the hobby and I have bought from him many times with no issues whatsoever.  The DCU you posted is perfectly fine and is a good solid example of an 82nd Airborne jacket.

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

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11 minutes ago, nkomo said:

  Jeff is one of the good guys in the hobby and I have bought from him many times with no issues whatsoever.  The DCU you posted is perfectly fine and is a good solid example of an 82nd Airborne jacket.

Definitely. We conversed a little and I definitely appreciate his experience and kindness. Even saved him as a seller on eBay to keep up with his items. Just trying to understand more about these so I can better understand what I am looking at in the future. Plus I find the history interesting. I bought a copy of Kevin Born’s book for the same purpose. That’s the only reason I ask about the thread. Not to imply I doubt it’s authenticity but only to learn more about its story from other veterans or collectors who may have insights. 

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1 hour ago, nkomo said:

  Jeff is one of the good guys in the hobby and I have bought from him many times with no issues whatsoever.  The DCU you posted is perfectly fine and is a good solid example of an 82nd Airborne jacket.

Definitely. We conversed a little and I definitely appreciate his experience and kindness. Even saved him as a seller on eBay to keep up with his items. Just trying to understand more about these so I can better understand what I am looking at in the future. Plus I find the history interesting. I bought a copy of Kevin Born’s book for the same purpose. That’s the only reason I ask about the thread. Not to imply I doubt it’s authenticity but only to learn more about its story from other veterans or collectors who may have insights. For example wondering if the combat patch and CIB and flag might have been applied in country and the tan thread was what was available overseas where as the jump wings and rank insignia may have been applied when the soldier attended jump school and the state side base could have had green thread because at that early period most non combat environment locations would still be equipped for BDU inventories. And not sure about the lighter whiteish color on the rest. But those are the kinds of things I was thinking about and hoping to get some insight from the more experienced people here that’s all. 

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It wasn't uncommon for soldiers to be issued new sets of uniforms while deployed. Consequently, a fresh set wouldn't show the signs of a flag being moved down to make room for the FWTS patch. Not all uniforms were set up with theatre-made patches/badges. There is nothing incorrect about this uniform.

I had an 82nd Airborne jacket almost exactly like this one from a different soldier (the exact same badges even!). I actually found a picture of the vet wearing the jacket in Iraq taken during a Christmas dinner. At the time he didn't have a CIB on the jacket, but the jacket did end up with a US made CIB and FTWS patch by the time it got to me. Exactly like yours.

I always like it when the FWTS and combat-related badges (CIB/CAB/CMB) on DCUs are theatre-made, but realistically that is not always the case.

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12 minutes ago, Longbranch said:

It wasn't uncommon for soldiers to be issued new sets of uniforms while deployed. Consequently, a fresh set wouldn't show the signs of a flag being moved down to make room for the FWTS patch. Not all uniforms were set up with theatre-made patches/badges. There is nothing incorrect about this uniform.

I had an 82nd Airborne jacket almost exactly like this one from a different soldier (the exact same badges even!). I actually found a picture of the vet wearing the jacket in Iraq taken during a Christmas dinner. At the time he didn't have a CIB on the jacket, but the jacket did end up with a US made CIB and FTWS patch by the time it got to me. Exactly like yours.

I always like it when the FWTS and combat-related badges (CIB/CAB/CMB) on DCUs are theatre-made, but realistically that is not always the case.

Yea again really not my intention to imply it’s incorrect just find it interesting. For example do you have a guess why if the soldier was issued a new uniform while deployed and added all the patches to it rather then adding them to a used uniform as he got them then why wouldn’t the thread all be the same? And if it was added overtime then why no evidence of the flag being lowered? Just find it interesting. Perhaps there’s no way to know just was hoping to glean some insight. Thanks. 

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It’s also entirely possible (even likely) that I just am unable to see the evidence of the flag previously being higher. But in any case I appreciate everyone’s responses. I bought two other tops from Bagman (Jeff, who never told me his name as I recall so it feels inappropriate to refer to him by it) After this one so I am in no way am trying to cast doubt. Just often get fixated on trying to learn about small details. 

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