05 June 2006

Gosh, how long ago did I join the Army? When I first joined, we were still wearing the "pickle suits" that looked like a Sears work uniform. Our alternate uniform were khaki's.

The helmet we wore then was the old steel pot with fiberglass helmet liner that soldiers before me wore in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. I can remember heating water in that steel pot for washing and shaving.

We were eating C-Rations then. I even saw some of the 1950's era C-Rations that still had a pack of 5 cigarettes in them.

The body armor we had then were Vietnam era. They had ceramic plates in them and were really heavy.

I still have a set of my old jungle fatigues in storage. Those old jungle fatigues were really comfortable and lightweight. But they shredded easily. It was not unusual to ruin at least a couple of pairs during a one month field exercise.

We still had the old M151 Jeep and the M561 Gamma Goat. That Goat was a...goat. A narcoleptic goat. It could climb just about any hill you put in front of it (it was 6 wheel drive) but had poor stability. It rolled too easily. About the only good thing I can say about the Gamma Goat was that it had a terrific bilge pump. If you got water in the engine compartment, the driver could toggle a switch to activate the pump. A stream of water an inch thick would blast out of the right side and easily reach 10 yards. When we got bored in the field, we would drive to the vehicle wash racks and fill the engine compartment with water. We would then either go looking for a buddy to hose him down or have jousting duels with another Goat.

And then we transitioned to the BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform). My first sets shrunk in the wash so badly, the cuffs were halfway up my arm.

MRE's were introduced. The very first MRE I ever ate was hotdogs. It had 5 smoked hotdogs in a vacuum sealed aluminum pouch. It was immediately nicknamed "the 5 fingers of Death".

The first new helmet in 40 years came out with the introduction of the kevlar helmet.

The Vietnam era body armor was replaced with a slightly lighter kevlar vest. While these vests would not stop a rifle bullet, it would stop some handgun rounds and shell fragments.

The green jungle boot was replaced by a black jungle boot.

Then the much hated beret was introduced.

Now we're wearing ACU's (Army Combat Uniforms), ACH's (Advanced Combat Helmet) and brown boots. We have new body armor with trauma plates that will defeat AK-47 rounds.

Please Army, no more uniform changes until after I retire!


Sean said...

Wait, don’t leave the army without getting your Class A’s replaced by Blue!

R1 said...

Dang! They just announced that too.