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The 187th RCT Uniform Topic


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Schottzie recommended a new topic devoted to the 187th RCT in THIS topic regarding some Korean War 187th Uniforms. Even though I strive to know all I can about Korea and the units in it, the 187th does not fail to confuse me. This does not need to be a Korean War focused topic...it is open to all eras of the 187th, though I do feel that a majority of questions arise regarding the unit's participation in the Korean War and the Occupation era.

 

For those of you with uniforms, patches, insignia, and valuable information, please contribute. I will start off by posting my two uniforms and we'll continue from there...

 

Rob

 

Please edit this introduction as needed

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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I bought this uniform from a fellow forum member. The pockets are sewn down and the oval is sewn through the pocket flap and the lining. All patches were present when I bought it, nothing unsewn from this one. I added the ascot because I had it and some troopers did it. The ribbon area has seen a lot of abuse...I was stumped on how to restore it, so I kept it simple with a CIB and the wings. This set up does match previous pin holes, so it's "correct."

 

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Notice the wierd "faded" color of the lining. You can see a bit in the armpit of the original sage colored rayon. It is now a khaki. I have no idea what caused this.

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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The second and last 187th in my collection-

 

I bought this at a militaria show/flea market this year. The only insignia when I bought it was the SSI and two service stripes. I checked the sleeves and I am SURE the small Cpl chevrons should be there. No evidence of an oval, I am still looking for wings to put on the pocket flap (there are pin holes). There was clear evidence of 4 ribbons set up like these upon investigation. With the service stripes, I made the safe assumption that the soldier would have a Good Conduct and, since the uniform dates to 1953 at the latest, the 6 years of service indicate that he enlisted in 1947. A year late for the WWII victory and more than enough time for occupation duty. No evidence of a CIB, I added engineer collar brass. It is either engineer or Arty. Suggestions welcome.

 

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A nice zipper and snaps.

 

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No overseas bars on this one.

 

Please, I'd love comments and suggestions on my restorations as well as general comments regarding the uniforms. And post your own!

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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I don't want to gain a bad reputation for 'faking' uniforms...I am honest with my restorations and I do not add any medals outside of campaign and good conducts unless I know for sure. I am very careful not to create new holes or anything of the sort, so if I choose to remove the insignia I add, it is as if nothing was there. This is only a disclaimer...the restoration just makes me feel more comfortable with the uniform. If I am not sure what is supposed to go on, I leave it blank. I also use only original insignia. I am super precise about the whole process...if I said everything was original no one would know any better, but I promise I am honest about it. I put a note in the pocket of each uniform that I restore to remind myself and others of the non-original insignia I added. I promise I would never sell a fake uniform.

 

Moving on...lets get this topic going.

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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As a former RAKKASAN who served with C. Company 3rd Battalion 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, first as an Anti Armor Specialist (Dragon) then as a M60 Machine Gunner from 1984 to 1986, I had the opportunity to research and become very familiar with the history of the 187th. It was revealed to me after I was assigned to the 187th that 2 very close friends of the family were members of the 187th who jumped in Korea. This also sparked my interest in the 187th. I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting both General William Westmorland who was commander of the 187th at one time and Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Rodolfo Hernandez at the Rakkasans reunion in Hartford, Connecticut in June 1985.

 

I have amassed a sizeable collection of 187th memorabilia that I will be posting for all forum members to enjoy. I have 2 uniforms that I am especially proud of being in the collection. One uniform is posted on the forum and it belonged to Chaplain Colonel Holland O Hope who made 1 of the combat jumps in Korea with the 187th. His uniform and patches and other items are pictured in that topic. Here is the shortcut to that site.

 

I will be posting my RAKKASAN collection soon.

 

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr

US Army (retired)

3/187th Infantry (RAKKASANS) 84/86

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...=Holland+O+Hope

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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It's great to see more Korean period Airborne items turning up here, this and the 1950's helmet threads are just my kind of reading! :thumbsup:

 

This is my only 187th Ike, obtained recently from a seller who has usually been first rate. There are a few thing's here that I would really value opinions on, so if something strikes you as strange then please say so. Please rest assured I don't have a gripe with the seller, I'm just eager to make sure the jacket represents the period/unit accurately.

 

Unit and rank insignia are machine stitched with cotton thread, oval isn't attached just held on by the wings and there is no sign of an oval having been machined on at any point. The uniform is as received from the seller, nothing has been added or changed by me. I don't feel it's entirely 'bad' but I feel it may have be 'tinkered with' by someone at sometime. Reverse of the parachute wing is shown, the reverse of the oval seems to have '187th ?' written on it in pen as if it maybe came from a collection though seems to be an original. I think the red/white/blue oval replaced the blue/orange around the time the standardised S.S.I. was adopted (1953-ish?)

 

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Thanks, Merry Christmas to everyone and here's hoping for more threads like this in the New Year!

 

Jon.

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I don't feel it's entirely 'bad' but I feel it may have be 'tinkered with' by someone at sometime.

 

 

I'm curious why there is a star on the National Defense ribbon ? It was authorized in 1953, but he should not have a star on it, as it was not retroactive, and could not be awarded twice for Korea ? That is the only thing that I see, except the Korean PUC which was sometimes worn on the left brest pocket below the ribbons, but I have seen it both ways though. The PUC does look like the smaller Navy/MC version instead of the correct Army sized version, but that does not really raise any red-flags.

 

All in all it looks like a very nice, well maintained uniform.

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I like it, even with the star on the NDSM...just one of those unauthorized flukes the GI did because he thought he should.

 

I think the wings are post war, though. With the G-I mark on the reverse, it dates post Korea. Are they Krew G-I?

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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This is a great thread!!.....love the uniforms and the link to Rakkasan187 stuff blew my mind!!....I have to venture out of the Helmet section more often!!!!!.. .mike :w00t:

Always looking for and buying 50's era 11th Airborne/ 187th ARCT/ 82nd Airborne tac mark painted jump helmets!



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The orange-blue oval was for the 187th Inf Regiment. The red-white-blue one was for the RCT and was meant to match the color scheme of the authorized SSI. Apparently the latter REPLACED the orange-blue and did not apply just to the extra-regimental augmenting units, such as HHC and NCBUs.

 

However, in VN the 187th Battalion in the 101st used the orange-blue oval (on headgear). BTW IIRC Westmoreland did not command the RCT in combat. He was the last CO of the RCT.

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I like the uniform but I am not sure about the DI's that are with the uniform. I believe these were later versions with the motto added. The DI's that are worn with the uniform for the Korean Period are more of a shield shape.

 

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved on 1952-12-15 for the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

 

On 1957-04-03 it was amended to add the motto.

 

The insignia was redesignated on 1958-02-07 for the 187th Infantry Regiment.

 

The Airborne Oval question has already been answered, The Korean era oval is Orange and Blue. It is a very nice uniform.

 

I will post pictures of my Korean Era 187th Uniform when I have some time.

 

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr

US Army (retired) 84/05

3rd Bn 187th Infantry Regiment (RAKKASANS) 84/86

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Thank you for all your help gents, it really is very much appreciated. I certainly feel a bit happier about the uniform and have a much clearer idea of what could potentially be changed.

 

Rob, yup, that's right, the Parachute wing is marked 'Krew G-I' and 'Sterling'. I wasn't sure they were period, nor am I entirely convinced about the originality of the stars. How far post Korea would the wing be?

 

Leigh, thank you very much for the information on the change in D.U.I., it's a great help. Would the original pattern be a more rectangular shield without the scroll/motto? I think I may have one somewhere, I'll try and take a few snaps if you gents don't mind having a look? I'm assuming that it would have been a bit of a long shot for the man to have still been serving with 187th by 1957/58 and even if so would the rest of the insignia be suitable? I'm sorry for the bone questions but I struggle to understand the lineage after 1957, I think the Pentomic Concept was introduced just to confuse me 50 years later!

 

I also wasn't sure about the star on the N.D.S.M. as I'm only familiar with it being done for subsequent awards, which wouldn't be appropriate in this case. I suppose it could be a case of an individual doing it himself though.

 

I forgot to mention, it's hard to see in the pics. but the Korean Service medal has a silver star if I remember correctly. Would I be correct in saying that it indicates participation in 5 campaigns? As I assume the stars on the wing indicate that the wearer had taken part in both Sukchon and Musan-Ni parachute assaults would he not have been entitled to wear the arrowhead device on the ribbon aswell?

 

The other thing I wasn't sure of was the double set of collar insignia. I think the combination of other insignia would put the uniform into the late/post-Korea period, so would the use of the double set of collar insignia not have been discontinued by that point? It shows slightly in the pics. but whilst the 'U.S.' and branch of service insignia are both as far as I can tell matched pairs, there is quite a difference between both sets in terms of wear and overall condition. I know that's a bit subjective though.

 

Thanks again for your help with this uniform gents, hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

 

Thanks, Jon.

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The 187th was non-divisional from 1953 to 1 July 1956, when it was subordinated to the 101st (and lost the RCT add-ons).

 

The invasion arrowhead was an affectation to denote NORMANDY, especially the Pathfinders, and never official. IIRC the Pathfinders also "self-awarded" it for Holland, but thereafter it was gone.

 

Maybe this jacket was worn up to the day the 187th joined the 101st. It is possible that the 101st was wearing the Army Green Shade 44 uniform by then (it was Army-wide in late 1957, but trickled in for at least a year before that), so the owner of this just put it away and started fresh in green.

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The 187th was non-divisional from 1953 to 1 July 1956, when it was subordinated to the 101st (and lost the RCT add-ons).

 

The invasion arrowhead was an affectation to denote NORMANDY, especially the Pathfinders, and never official. IIRC the Pathfinders also "self-awarded" it for Holland, but thereafter it was gone.

 

Maybe this jacket was worn up to the day the 187th joined the 101st. It is possible that the 101st was wearing the Army Green Shade 44 uniform by then (it was Army-wide in late 1957, but trickled in for at least a year before that), so the owner of this just put it away and started fresh in green.

 

Some Pacific Vets also wore the arrowhead device. Not sure when/if it became official, but now it can be purchased at MCSS (likely for older ribbon racks :thumbsup:).

Ebay Sales: wwii.uniform.collector

 

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As I assume the stars on the wing indicate that the wearer had taken part in both Sukchon and Musan-Ni parachute assaults would he not have been entitled to wear the arrowhead device on the ribbon as well?

 

If those two parachute assults were classified as combat parachute jumps, then he would be entitled to were a bronze arrowhead. I'm not really up to par on my Korean Campaigns, but if those were combat jumps then he should rate an arrowhead.

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The collar insignia look fine based on your pic's, but I'm not really sure when they discontinued using the double insignia ? I would not worry about it too much, as that is a pretty nice uniform you have there. If the DI's are not correct for the period, you can always swap them out with the correct DI's for display purposes.

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The other thing I wasn't sure of was the double set of collar insignia. I think the combination of other insignia would put the uniform into the late/post-Korea period, so would the use of the double set of collar insignia not have been discontinued by that point? It shows slightly in the pics. but whilst the 'U.S.' and branch of service insignia are both as far as I can tell matched pairs, there is quite a difference between both sets in terms of wear and overall condition. I know that's a bit subjective though.

 

Thanks again for your help with this uniform gents, hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

 

Thanks, Jon.

 

Jon,

 

The double collar discs were worn from 1946 until 1951-ish. You see the practice start very early after the end of WWII, definitely the standard by 1948. By 1951 it was kind of phased out. I have photos of GIs that I know enlisted in early 1951 that wear the double set of brass, and by late 1951 you don't see it too much any more. That's not to say some guys didn't carry over into later years...of the selection of uniforms I have, there are maybe 2 or 3 with the double sets of brass, and they all lack the NDSM...though many of the later Korean War uniforms I have also lack the NDSM.

 

I think Korean War uniforms are fun to collect because there is so much variation like this. It was really a transitional period and it's interesting to research and figure out what ideas were out there.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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...As I assume...that the wearer had taken part in both Sukchon and Musan-Ni parachute assaults would he not have been entitled to wear the arrowhead device on the ribbon as well?...I think the combination of other insignia would put the uniform into the late/post-Korea period, so would the use of the double set of collar insignia not have been discontinued by that point?

Assault landing credits for Sunchon-Sukchon on October 10, 1950, and for Munsan-in on March 23, 1951, were awarded 187th AIR by DAGO 80-54 (i.e., in 1954).

 

The 4-disc arrangement ended October 1951 (Emerson's Encyclopedia, p. 517).

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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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Jon,

 

You are correct about the proper DI's for that period uniform, that they were more rectangular in shape and they did not have the motto or scroll. I will post pictures of mine tonite. The DI's I have on my 187th Uniform are Japanese made.

 

Leigh...

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Here are some pics of my 187th stuff, mostly post Vietnam..

Here is a Vietnam era helmet with Tori stenciled on it. Came right from the vet a double Silver Star recipient, who served with 187th Recon in 1967 at Phuc Vinh. He stated he did not wear the helmet more than a couple times at base camp, and brought it back as a souvenir. Enjoy Paul

 

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Si vis pacem, para bellum

 

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