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Divine Intervention!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once again, I sought the gurus in this forum for additional knowledge on the said topic.

I learnt that in NAM, both the US Marines as well as the Army participated in the war that went on from 1965 - 1975 (though by 1973, most of the US troops had already pulled out).

I am wanting to build a squad of 6 men and wanted them to be representing the Marines in NAM. However, I do not have enough Flak Vest to go around for all 6 hence am in a dillema of being accurate. Here comes the questions :

1. Does all Marine wore a Flak Vest? I mean to epitomise a Marine from other branches of the Armed Forces.

2. Does the Army units wore Flak Vest too? ie 1st Calvary etc. I have a reference book on NAM uniforms from Kevin Lyles and all the re-enactors that represented the Army units does not have a Flak Vest on. So I am not sure if this is regulations... sounds stupid though if it is regulation since Flak Vest is meant to protect oneself and if there is a regulation that forbids non-marine to put on a Flak Vest imo is plain stupid :p

3. Does the Navy Corpsmen (Medic) attached to the Army unit during operation or the Army unit had their own Medic personnel?

4. What other gear, habbit is in a way "exclusive" to these 2 branches of soldiers that can differentiate them out from one another on top of the unit patches?

I am asking these questions so that I can name my 6 men team appropriately and correctly and also hope to be able to use all types of gears - if possible - on the team to represent the NAM era better.

Appreciate any input and a BIG THANK YOU in advance :D
 

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wave man TDY staff
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41,776 Posts
Until such time as the guys who know drop by, here's what I recall (which is of course, questionable)....

Most Marine riflemen wore the "flak vest" in the field, and especially when holding firebases. They wore the armor over a shirt, t-shirt, or bare skin, at times. That would exclude Force Recon guys, I think, who had to move fast, and were encumbered by extra stuff while on patrol. In the Corps, I think it was orders.
Army grunts often seem to have left, or shed their body armor during prolonged operations in the field. This may have been preferable to dehydration and fatigue. They definitely had body armor as well.

The Army had medics, the Marines had corpsmen. Medics were Army, corpsmen were Navy. Both were also called Docs by the grunts and Marines, a sign of respect.

Earlier in the war, Marines had an OD sateen utility uniform, which eventually gave way to the same jungle combat suit as the Army issue. They were also issued ERDL camouflage suits. Black leather combat boots gave way to jungle boots.
Their web gear was a mix of M41, M61, and M56 gear. Marine combat uniforms were usually devoid of insignia.
 

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Divine Intervention!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much once again PD for lending me your knowledge, much much appreciated.

I reckon later on in the war, there were really not much to distinguished an American troop from Marine to Army or even to Airborne other than the patches. Actually from what I have reference at, only the Flak Vest is the most perculiar item that can greatly distinguish a branch. If the Army was not issued one during NAM, I will not use it on a kitbash if I want to depict my bash as an Army element.
One can easily argue that a Calvary trooper got it from a Marine buddy… that is beside the point. No “situation reasoning” for my kitbashes if possible ;)
But one can also easily states that the Marine was issued the Flak vest but chose not to use it… again, that is beside the point. If a Marine was issued one and it can potentially save this Marine’s life, it is a no brainer for not putting on during operation or moving around in a Firebase.

Sorry for being anal about this but I have been wanting to do this NAM team bash for a long time and I hope to do a good job in it rather then being shabby :)

Thank you once again for your input PD.
 

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Unabashed 5.11 Junky
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3,866 Posts
Porkins73 said:
...If the Army was not issued one during NAM, I will not use it on a kitbash if I want to depict my bash as an Army element.
... One can easily argue that a Calvary trooper got it from a Marine buddy…
My understanding is that the Army infantrymen were issued the flak vest, but not required by regs or procedures to the wear it. As far as I know, the average Army infantrymen were issued the M69, but many left them behind when on patrol because of their weight, heat and lack of protection against rifle rounds.
 

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Divine Intervention!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Pivot for your input. I do agree with you that in practical usage, a trooper may value his comfort much greater then his life. As I have watched Oliver Stone's Platoon yesterday again, the narrator says "if you were to die in NAM, it'll better be the first few days rather then towards the end of the tour... so that the sufferring is shorten". That speaks a lot about the mentality of the ground pounder.

Hey BG, that link you gave is excellent and it clears up a lot of my doubt. Now since both the Army and Marines were issued the Flak Vest in NAM, I can make my bash and call them Army or Marines even when some does not have the vest on. Great stuffs!

Thank you all who responded. I think I have gotten the answer I were looking for from all your inputs. Thank you all once again!
 
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