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AKC123

BDU Flag Question

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Just got these two BDUs from a fellow forum member (Thanks Matt_D). Both 1996 contract EA industries. One is wearing the flag and the other is not. The flag is sewn with black or dark blue thread so it was clearly added at another time. So my question is does anyone know when the wearing of the flag became standard? If you look at Photos from Panama you don’t really see any but by the mid 90’s you do. Was there a formal standard adopted? Also there’s writing on both cuffs. Anyone know what this may be? Last thing. They both have remnants of green labels stapled to the inside along the button closure. Laundry tags? Thanks 

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I should specify. There is writing on both cuff of one of the BDUs not on both BDUs cuff’s

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It looks like grid coordinates 6 and 8 digit grids.. The names of the football teams may have been phases lines on a map and the grid the location on the map. It was not uncommon to name phase lines in an operation with something that would resonate with US personnel.. Different football teams, beers, baseball teams, animals, very common..

 

Looks like Browns, Packer and Red Skin ( in an abbreviated form) 

 

The Captain may have been pressed for time and received a quick warning order and did not have his map at the time of the briefing so he wrote the information on his BDUs..

 

Not the best OPSEC (Operational Security) measures and I am just speculating what the numbers and names are... but logical explanation..

 

I can't recall when we started wearing the US Flag on the sleeve but I think it was sometime in 2003 ish... 

 

Leigh 

 


"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Awesome. Thanks for the reply. I assumed it was something along those lines but I hadn’t actually put together that they were football teams. There lots of photos of US forces in the Balkan’s throughout the 90’s with the flag but I was unsure if that was standard or related to the fact that the actions in the balkans were peace keeping actions by the UN making it necessary to identify the troops with a flag. Thanks for the answer 

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On 5/30/2020 at 3:35 PM, AKC123 said:

Awesome. Thanks for the reply. I assumed it was something along those lines but I hadn’t actually put together that they were football teams. There lots of photos of US forces in the Balkan’s throughout the 90’s with the flag but I was unsure if that was standard or related to the fact that the actions in the balkans were peace keeping actions by the UN making it necessary to identify the troops with a flag. Thanks for the answer 

 

Prior to OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom, the US operation in Afghanistan) the right flag patch was a "theater only' uniform mod.  When my MP company deployed to the Former Yugoslavia in 1997 we had the flag patch sewn onto our right sleeve when we prepared to mobilize.  We were told this was NOT authorized in CONUS [The Continental United States] and when we were preparing to return to CONUS we were told to remove the flag patch.  

 

Following the 9/11 attacks and the operations that followed, the Army kept to the same practice, i.e. the flag was only worn "in theater" (and it's only purpose, as you guessed, was to positively identify the soldier as a US soldier.)  Following the early stages of the war, around 2002 - 2003 or so, some units returning from the theater of operations asked to be allowed to keep their flag patches on, and in the generally patriotic spirit of the day, the Army agreed and changed the uniform policy to require the patch even in CONUS.  

 

I don't know the exact date but I'm pretty sure it was late 2002 or early 2003 that the flag on the right sleeve became mandatory.  


Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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4 minutes ago, Martinjmpr said:

 

Prior to OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom, the US operation in Afghanistan) the right flag patch was a "theater only' uniform mod.  When my MP company deployed to the Former Yugoslavia in 1997 we had the flag patch sewn onto our right sleeve.  We were told this was NOT authorized in CONUS [The Continental United States] and when we were preparing to return to CONUS we were told to remove the flag patch.  

 

Following the 9/11 attacks and the operations that followed, the Army kept to the same practice, i.e. the flag was only worn "in theater" (and it's only purpose was to positively identify the soldier as a US soldier.)  Following the early stages of the war, around 2002 - 2003 or so, some units returning from the theater of operations asked to be allowed to keep their flag patches on, and in the generally patriotic spirit of the day, the Army agreed and changed the uniform policy to require the patch even in CONUS.  

 

I don't know the exact date but I'm pretty sure it was late 2002 or early 2003 that the flag on the right sleeve became mandatory.  

Awesome info. I find these small details fascinating. Part of the enjoyment of getting a uniform is to go over it and try to discern as much as you can about its history. Even if most of it is conjecture. The little things like this information and information about the different ways people applied patches and in what probable order and first hand accounts of recycled uniforms are all things that aid in that endeavor. For example I just posted a USASOC Aviation BDU on another thread and it’s a 93 American apparel contract with the flag. So was it worn possibly in the balkans or was in simply in use for 10 years or was that contract in use until much later? Could be all three I suppose. But it’s information like you gave that makes it interesting. Thanks 

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52 minutes ago, AKC123 said:

Awesome info. I find these small details fascinating. Part of the enjoyment of getting a uniform is to go over it and try to discern as much as you can about its history. Even if most of it is conjecture. The little things like this information and information about the different ways people applied patches and in what probable order and first hand accounts of recycled uniforms are all things that aid in that endeavor. For example I just posted a USASOC Aviation BDU on another thread and it’s a 93 American apparel contract with the flag. So was it worn possibly in the balkans or was in simply in use for 10 years or was that contract in use until much later? Could be all three I suppose. But it’s information like you gave that makes it interesting. Thanks 

 

My guess is that it's the latter, i..e it's a 1993 uniform that was worn after 2002 - 2003.  

 

Remember that just because the uniform was made in 1993 it doesn't mean it was issued or purchased that year.  It could have sat in a warehouse for a few years before being either issued or sold on the military clothing sales store.  Hot weather BDU's like that didn't last long, BUT the owner of that uniform top was an aviator - which means that most of his "working" time he was wearing a "bag", i.e, a flight suit, not a BDU.  So his hot weather uniforms would last a lot longer than a grunt or a soldier who worked in the field a lot and wore BDUs all the time.  


Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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11 minutes ago, Martinjmpr said:

 

My guess is that it's the latter, i..e it's a 1993 uniform that was worn after 2002 - 2003.  

 

Remember that just because the uniform was made in 1993 it doesn't mean it was issued or purchased that year.  It could have sat in a warehouse for a few years before being either issued or sold on the military clothing sales store.  Hot weather BDU's like that didn't last long, BUT the owner of that uniform top was an aviator - which means that most of his "working" time he was wearing a "bag", i.e, a flight suit, not a BDU.  So his hot weather uniforms would last a lot longer than a grunt or a soldier who worked in the field a lot and wore BDUs all the time.  

That’s a good point and actually something Iv been wondering. There are photos of modern flight crew members on chinooks wearing what appear to be regular UCP and OCP ACU’s rather than flight suits. Wonder if that is a relatively new thing or if that was done pre ACU as well. Or are those actually some kind of special variant? 

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56 minutes ago, AKC123 said:

That’s a good point and actually something Iv been wondering. There are photos of modern flight crew members on chinooks wearing what appear to be regular UCP and OCP ACU’s rather than flight suits. Wonder if that is a relatively new thing or if that was done pre ACU as well. Or are those actually some kind of special variant? 

 

Back in the 1990's the Army came out with the "aviation BDU."  It was cut similar to a BDU and was a two piece uniform, but was made out of flame-retardent NOMEX for use by flight crews.  It had a built-in waist belt sewn inside and (I think) some pockets on the sleeve and lower leg.  The idea was to give aviators and aviation crew a uniform that looked similar to a BDU, but would work while flying.  Aviators generally HATED them and much preferred their distinctive wash-and-wear "bag" suits.  


Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Interesting. I’m satisfied with my BDU even if it wasn’t worn for any actual operational use haha. I actually got a CWO2 Aviator winged 101st DCU today as well in the same shipment. Was holding out hope they both may have actually found their way inside a bird at some point but unlikely. Still happy with them haha. Thanks for the info 

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And don't forget just because it is a 1993 contract date does not mean that it was produced in 1993. That's just the year that specific contract was started.


I believe there was a thread on here or OEF/OIF forum that documented a garment with an early 2000's contract date but had a camouflage pattern that would have post-dated the contract by many years, some research by the poster lead to find that the contract had been modified to account for the change of camouflage. 

 

These are really nice BDU's, with the addition of the writing on the cuff. I like things like that, I'll have to check all my BDUs/DCU's now for something similar. 

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1 hour ago, Ewart said:

And don't forget just because it is a 1993 contract date does not mean that it was produced in 1993. That's just the year that specific contract was started.


I believe there was a thread on here or OEF/OIF forum that documented a garment with an early 2000's contract date but had a camouflage pattern that would have post-dated the contract by many years, some research by the poster lead to find that the contract had been modified to account for the change of camouflage. 

 

These are really nice BDU's, with the addition of the writing on the cuff. I like things like that, I'll have to check all my BDUs/DCU's now for something similar. 

I have a DCU that belonged to a soldier who had seen service with the 25ID before transferring to the 1st sustainment command. The 1st sustainment command was reorganized into a theatre sustainment command if I remember correctly in 2006 and lost its airborne status. The DCU I think is a 1999 contract date but the SSI is without the airborne tab so it must have been applied post 2005 I believe. And yea I like that kind of thing as well. I’d much rather have a stained top with a few rips and some character than a clean top that looks like it came off the rack yesterday. Besides what I believe to be their inherent beauty it’s mostly the story they represent that makes them so appealing to me 

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On 6/1/2020 at 10:13 PM, Martinjmpr said:

Aviators generally HATED them and much preferred their distinctive wash-and-wear "bag" suits.  

 

I *much* preferred the two-piece over the zoom bag.  It was a lot easier to work on the aircraft in hot weather since you could take the top off instead of tying the top half of a zoom bag around your waist, and it was light years easier to drop a deuce.  Personal opinion, they also looked a lot sharper, especially the OCP version with a decade or so of improvements incorporated.

 

 


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26 minutes ago, Varangian said:

 

I *much* preferred the two-piece over the zoom bag.  It was a lot easier to work on the aircraft in hot weather since you could take the top off instead of tying the top half of a zoom bag around your waist, and it was light years easier to drop a deuce.  Personal opinion, they also looked a lot sharper, especially the OCP version with a decade or so of improvements incorporated.

 

 

Haha thanks for the info. Iv been getting basically exclusively aviation and aviator BDUs and DCUs lately plus two aircrew coats one of which being the woodland pattern you speak of. The aviation related tops seem to be more available and for some reason I find super interesting. Always had a thing for helicopters. 

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22 minutes ago, AKC123 said:

... the woodland pattern you speak of. The aviation related tops seem to be more available

 

OCP = Scorpion/Multicam

 

The tops take a lot less punishment than the pants.  The Aircrew Combat Uniform fabric is tougher than that of the ACU-FR, but not near as tough as the NYCO on regular ACUs, and gets very thin after repeated washing. 


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I was referring to just the standard BDU and DCU uniform tops with aviation and aviator badges. Seen a lot of them lately. I have only two actually Aircrew Coats. One is simply tan 100% aramid I believe and the other is 95% aramid 5% para aramid and is woodland. They are the IABDU versions. Don’t have any of the newer UCP or OCP versions. I haven’t gotten into the newer ACU family uniforms because there just is no real way to tell with any level of confidence if any patches other than those that are sewn on are legit and I try not to buy clean uniforms anymore. 

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