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Bob Hudson

post WWII, 50's & 60's US Air Force uniform photos

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I have noticed that there are very few photos online of the US Air Force personnel and uniforms from the early days of the service. There's lots of Army Air Force and a fair amount of modern USAF but not much of the early days. If we can get enough photos we might break them out into categories but for now let's see what we can come up with and provide create a reference source for early USAF uniforms.

 

I'll start with a 1949 USAF jacket:

 

afike.jpgafikelabel.jpg



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This photo is seen in various places on the web and it's one of my favorite USAF photos: the 1956 summer uniform with khaki shorts:

 

afshorts.jpg

 

As noted on the Air Force Association website at http://www.afa.org/magazine/1991/0691splendor.asp, the summer uniform also included long pants and the bush coat:

 

bushfront.jpg



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Here are two photos from 1952 and 1953 of WAF's ("Women in the Air Force," a distinction that was dropped in 1976).

 

WAFFLAGSALUTE.jpg

 

WAFbugler.jpg



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Here is a set of USAF EM collar discs and possible early USAF hat emblem from the late 1940's or early 1950's. All three of these emblems came in the same box find from a local antique store here in Colorado. I've always had the understanding that the gold cut-out hat emblems were US Army WAC and not USAF, but since these came together, I'm now wondering if the hat emblem is USAF? The discs are without hallmarks and the hat emblem is KREW, G.I., STERLING marked. Does anyone know for sure if USAF wore these gold cut-out hat emblems before they switched to the silver cut-outs?

 

The WAF bugler photo from 1952 or 1953 shows her wearing the US collar disc on the left collar, so can anyone pinpoint a specific date the gold cut-out wing and prop discs were discontinued?

 

BTW - Bob, this early USAF thread was an excellent idea! Transitional and Korean War era USAF is one of the most undocumented and underappreciated areas of US military history and collecting. Maybe we can tie allot of their history together?

 

Gary

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**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/15996-please-read-gary-mohrlang-glm/

 

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Here is a set of USAF EM collar discs and possible early USAF hat emblem from the late 1940's or early 1950's. All three of these emblems came in the same box find from a local antique store here in Colorado. I've always had the understanding that the gold cut-out hat emblems were US Army WAC and not USAF, but since these came together, I'm now wondering if the hat emblem is USAF? The discs are without hallmarks and the hat emblem is KREW, G.I., STERLING marked. Does anyone know for sure if USAF wore these gold cut-out hat emblems before they switched to the silver cut-outs?

 

The WAF bugler photo from 1952 or 1953 shows her wearing the US collar disc on the left collar, so can anyone pinpoint a specific date the gold cut-out wing and prop discs were discontinued?

 

BTW - Bob, this early USAF thread was an excellent idea! Transitional and Korean War era USAF is one of the most undocumented and underappreciated areas of US military history and collecting. Maybe we can tie allot of their history together?

 

Gary

 

I once saw an AF blue Ike jacket like that shown at the top, but with ARMY labels! Apparently made to same specs bu the same contractor, but now with new material. If I recall correctly, it was dated '48. Can't get much earlier than that!

I have also seen OD wool Ikes with the new AF chevrons -- definitely transtitional.



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This is the Air Force sage green fatique shirt. This came from the same estate as the Ike and bush jackets above: this guy enlisted in AAF in 1944 and retired from USAF in 1964 and left two trunks of uniforms spanning the years. The shirt's labels were missing but I believe this was late 1950's:

 

sagegreenshirt.jpg



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Sage green remained a popular color for Air Force flight suits long after it disappeared from utility uniforms. This flight suit has a black label:

 

k2bflightsuit.jpg

 

 

The label is undated, but I saw another pair with a higher contract number that was dated 1959.

 

k2bflightsuitlabel.jpg



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I found a load of official US Air Force photos showing basic training classes dating back to 1948. It's an interesting glimpse at some of the changes in uniforms.

 

Notice the Army style visor caps in this photo (remember the USAF was established in Sept 1947):

 

1948SepBasic.jpg

 

Interesting to note that by April 1950 we see both the Army cap and a dark blue cap being work with the khaki uniform:

 

1950AprBasic.jpg

 

1950Octbasic.jpg



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Here's a couple more from 1950 including one of WAF's:

 

1950SepKhakibasic.jpg

 

This is from a Septemeber 1950 class photo:

 

1950SepWAFbasic.jpg



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Notice the helmets on these 1951 basic training instructors and the soft caps on the recruits:

 

1951JanBasic.jpg

 

In 1951 they could still give their visor caps the crusher look:

 

1951NovBasic.jpg



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Notice the Ike jackets and boots on this 1952 class:

 

1952Sepbasic.jpg

 

1952Octbasic.jpg

 

This is a 1952 WAF class:

 

1952WAFbasic.jpg



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A February 1953 class:

 

1953Febbasic.jpg

 

Here's a January 1960 class: notice how geeky the uniform looks compared to those from the 1950's. This is basically what they had when I went through Lackland AFB in 1968 and it was not a look that inspired esprit de corps:

 

1960Jan2basic.jpg



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Some 1950's officer's uniforms.

 

 

Here some officers meet with Eddie Rickenbacker in May 1951:

 

RickenbackerMay1951.jpg

 

This photo dates from 1955:

 

1955officers.jpg

 

Those khaki suits were sharp looking.



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Some USAF uniform histories:

 

http://www.af.mil/news/airman/1296/duds.htm, which notes:

 

It wasn't until January 1949 when the Air Force adopted its shade 84 blue uniforms; however, most airmen didn't have a set of "blues" hanging in their wall lockers until late 1950. In the interim, officers wore the Army's "pinks and greens" and airmen wore ODs (olive drab).

 

and this one http://www.afa.org/magazine/1991/0691splendor.asp



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Here is a K-2B flight suit with a December 11, 1959 date on the tag. The 4170th Strategic Wing was disestablished in 1963.

 

Dennis

post-311-1180527956.jpg

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The hat badge & collar brass in number 4 are "transition" brass. These were worn on the Army Ikes before the new blue uniform came out. The same hat badge was also used later for females in the Army, but originally were USAF enlisted .

I got this info from an old collector buddy who was in the Air Force during WWII and after. He has since passed away.

The 2 officers with Eddie Rickenbacker are Capt. James Jabara, the first USAF all jet ace from the Korean War. He finished with 15 kills over MiG-15's. On the right is General Hoyt Vandenberg who at the time of the photo was Chief of Staff USAF. I went thru USAF Basic at Lackland in April-May 1966 and served as a supply man till 1970. I issued specialized clothing (flight gear, firemans clothes & cold weather gear mostly), so I'm familuar with a lot of this stuff.

I noticed in one of the basic training photos from the ealry 50's, the TI is wearing a hashmark & overseas bars. These were silver (like the chevrons), on shade 1084 blue. They disappeared by the 1960s, and the blue Ike followed shortly.

The 1505's (short sleeve khaki color summer uniform), really didn't look all that great, but it was cool & comfortable.

Sorry for the rambling post... I have always been interested in the USAF "Transition era", from Army to blue USAF uniforms.

This is a great thread! thumbsup.gif


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Hi,

 

My Korea War Era Sergeant uniform:

 

 

korean20war20usaf20ike2bl5.jpg

 

korean20war20usaf20ike2qg6.jpg

 

usaf20service20stripesov8.jpg

 

Best regards,

 

Ricardo.


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Sorry for the rambling post... I have always been interested in the USAF "Transition era", from Army to blue USAF uniforms.

This is a great thread! thumbsup.gif

 

Ramble on my friend! Any details you can provide, feel free to do so.



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I see a mix of coats and Ike jackets in one photo but does anyone have a photo of a blue coat modified into an Ike jacket in wear?

 

USAF_Ike_custom.JPG

 

The custom tailored jackets would show the front and epaulet buttons and would not have the buttons on the cuffs that the issue Ike jackets had.

 

USAF_Ike_custom_close.JPG


"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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I have a nice collection of Air Force uniforms as well

 

At http://www.tsgtmackey.com

 

 

I have visited your site many times: an excellent resource for USAF uniform and security police info. Maybe you could start a new topic about SP collection and that might prompt some other collectors to add their photos to the topic.

 

I was at SAC missile in the late 60's and because of the security requirements of the missile launch sites it seemed like half of the base personnel were SP's (and the other half were cooks to feed them).



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Transition uniforms approximately 1947

post-248-1199410279.jpg


"The Americans on this Island are not ordinary troops, but Marines, a special force recruited from jails and insane asylums for blood lust." -Japanese Newspaper found during the Battle of Guadalcanal - "They Got That Right!!" Chesty Puller

 

 

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Would this have been an enlisted 505 khaki shirt from the 1950's? I believe they stopped wearing this style of shirt about 1960 or so and the Air Materiel Command - shown on the shirt label - became the Air Force Logistics Command in 1961. My best guess is that these were embroidered and worn in Japan or Korea very early in the 50's.

 

 

There are no chevrons but I had thought the officers collar insignia did not have the circle around the the US.

 

I am going to move this to a thread dealing with early US Air Force uniforms and maybe that will help us get some more answers.



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Would this have been an enlisted 505 khaki shirt from the 1950's? I believe they stopped wearing this style of shirt about 1960 or so and the Air Materiel Command - shown on the shirt label - became the Air Force Logistics Command in 1961. My best guess is that these were embroidered and worn in Japan or Korea very early in the 50's....There are no chevrons but I had thought the officers collar insignia did not have the circle around the the US....

Nice shirt. It is an commercial version of the standard issue long sleeve khaki shirt worn in USAF until about 1960 (light weight shade 505 uniforms were approved in 1961 to replace heavy cotton khakis). The 67th Recon. Wing officer shown in post #22 above is wearing a similar commercial gabardine uniform vs. issue khakis worn by the enlisted men.

 

The ring encircling the bullion "U.S." insignia on the collar points makes the owner of this shirt an enlisted man. However, the absence of chevrons is puzzling, as this would have been an expensive uniform for an Airman Basic to own. Nevertheless, the shirt shows signs of wear: Is there any sign that chevrons were removed? I agree with Admin as to worn in Japan in 1950s: The red stitching in the collar band above the "Creighton" label is a Japanese laundry mark (probably the shirt owner's name).


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Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:


"To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,


For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods."

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Here are two Army Air Corps/Air Force transition IKE's I have. Please see related post in the uniform section titled '1950's Air Force Uniform Question'.

 

 

The first IKE is dated with a March 1945 QM tag. As you can see it has a right sleeve 8th AAF patch and left sleeve 1st AAF patch with Air Force Staff Sergeant stripes. This IKE has two Army hash marks on the left sleeve.

 

post-1227-1206281650.jpg

 

 

The second IKE has a 1944 dated QM tag. It has a Military Air Transport Service patch on the left sleeve with Air Force Tech Sgt stripes, no other marks. This IKE has the name and serial number of the owner which I have not researched. Walter L Hustus, 31153044.

 

post-1227-1206282034.jpg

 

Neither jacket had any brass or ribbons when I aquired them, which has been over 20 years ago from an antique/junk shop in New York.

 

Dan

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