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Little Red Barn
11-24-2006, 11:20 PM
I am looking for a decription of what an army soldier would wear in the 1960's; prefer 1963-1965.Color of uniform , hat etc... One of my chapters is about a Fort Knox soldier.
Also maybe a description of where he would have ate dinner at on base, ie; was it called a messhall? What it looked like?
And what would have been his biggest worry..maybe what was he facing...just a generic...that would have represented all.
I appreciate any knowledge on this topic, Big Thanks kimmi

Unique
11-25-2006, 12:17 AM
http://www.army.mil/CMH/art/P-P/AS-2/1963.htm

http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/index.html

try these.

Cav Guy
11-25-2006, 12:29 AM
Also watch the first part of "We Were Soldiers" or "Go Tell the Spartans" for ideas about uniforms. The first part of "We Were Soldiers" in particular is valuable.

The green utilities were nothing like the fatigues worn in Vietnam from about 1966 on, and boots were black leather. Khakis were also common at Stateside bases, worn with low-quarter shoes. The mess hall (or chow hall, depending on the mood of your characters) was intended for enlisted men.

And a quick word about language...Army types tended to refer to being "on post" as opposed to "on base." Base is a more common Air Force term.

Just general things....YMMV with them.

Richard White
11-25-2006, 12:30 AM
Kimmi,

An average GI's uniform in the sixties was an olive drab jacket over a white t-shirt and olive drab pants. Just a couple of pockets on the jacket (one over each breast). There were other uniforms (dress uniforms, mechanics overalls that they wore over their olive drabs (or pickle suits as they were called occasionally). Boots were black lace ups, although tankers might have worn a different style.

The mess hall depended on whether it was attached to the barracks where the GI's slept or was a seperate building. Either way, it was very spartan. Long rows of tables, maybe folding chairs (sometimes wooden, sometimes metal), maybe hard plastic chairs. You'd enter at one end, go through the cafeteria style line (no real choice in what you got, you basically told them yes I want some or no I don't.) and then you went to an empty seat and ate your chow. Some cooks were very good, some were horrible, most were mediocre (just like today). Officers had their own area of the mess hall, if they didn't have one for themselves seperate from the enlisted soliders.

On a good day, you'd catch a meal over at the NCO club, where they would cook to order (short order stuff mainly).

On the holidays, they might go all out and serve steak, lobster or something like that (At DLI in the 80s, we got Cornish Game Hens once a week, but I think that's pretty unique to Monterey).

Biggest worry for a GI in the sixties? Getting shipped over to Vietnam! While the draftees were one and done (usually), if you were a careerist, you might have done five tours in Vietnam between when we went in there and when we pulled out. Beyond that, let's see, there were race riots on post, drug usage, hostility between the townies and the soldiers when you got to go into town on a pass, and Oh, did I mention Vietnam?

Now, these things didn't happen on every post, and they didn't happen to every solider. Most of the GI's were good joes just doing their jobs, but there were bad apples then, before then and now.

Little Red Barn
11-25-2006, 12:40 AM
[Biggest worry for a GI in the sixties? Getting shipped over to Vietnam! While the draftees were one and done (usually), if you were a careerist, you might have done five tours in Vietnam between when we went in there and when we pulled out. Beyond that, let's see, there were race riots on post, drug usage, hostility between the townies and the soldiers when you got to go into town on a pass, and Oh, did I mention Vietnam?]

Richard, Were we in the Cold War or were they just beginning Vietnam? Little confused about this? This is great info! Thank you

Unique, That was a wealth of info because it led me to Fort Knox...big Thanks

Cav thanks so much for your suggestions...
All these wars confuse me...so I appreciate it
:Shrug: Thanks all!

Richard White
11-25-2006, 12:53 AM
[Biggest worry for a GI in the sixties? Getting shipped over to Vietnam! While the draftees were one and done (usually), if you were a careerist, you might have done five tours in Vietnam between when we went in there and when we pulled out. Beyond that, let's see, there were race riots on post, drug usage, hostility between the townies and the soldiers when you got to go into town on a pass, and Oh, did I mention Vietnam?]

Richard, Were we in the Cold War or were they just beginning Vietnam? Little confused about this? This is great info! Thank you

:Shrug: Thanks all!

We started sending advisors over to Vietnam in the late 50s, and began sending in larger numbers of advisors under Kennedy in the early 60s. We comitted troops for real after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, were full into Vietnam by 1965 and stayed there until the fall of Saigon in 1975. (The war had officially ended in 1973, but we were still advising the South Vietnamese Army and had our Embassy there.)

The first official U.S. Casualty in the Vietnam War was a Sp4 Davis, a radio-direction intercept operator who was killed in an ambush of a South Vietnamese convoy where he was training their MI soldiers.

The Cold War unoffically began in September 1945 and ran through 1990. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, that was the beginning of the end to the Cold War. As a Cold Warrior, I was specifically targetting Soviet units when I was training up until 1990, when we shifted to Iraqi targets in August that year.

Little Red Barn
11-25-2006, 12:59 AM
So Richard, that soldier at Fort Knox may have been anxious about being shipped to Vietnam, in 1963 or 1964?:Would they have carried their M16 into the messhall?Shrug:

Richard White
11-25-2006, 01:34 AM
A) Worried about going to Vietnam in 1964? Is he a regular soldier or is he a specialist of some type. Most Infantry, Armor or Cav soldiers didn't start going to Vietnam in big numbers until 1965. Mostly what we had going there were Special Forces, Military Intelligence, and Engineer types.

b) He wouldn't have been carrying an M-16 into the messhall. IF they were going to the range or something like that, they might have stacked weapons outside (a technique where you can set 3-10 weapons upright, resembling a small haystack) and had a guard on them while everyone else ate. First guy done eating would relieve the guard outside who'd hurry in to eat before the chow line closed. Otherwise, their weapons would be kept in the unit armory.

c) Wouldn't be carrying an M-16 in 1964. While the M-16 was beginning to come out around then, most GI's carried the M-14 automatic rifle. A much heavier weapon that resembled most rifles at the time and fired a 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) round.

Little Red Barn
11-25-2006, 02:23 AM
Richard he is a regular soldier! Where would he most likely have been sent at this period of time...Trying to think what my charac would have been worried about besides the girl he left behind ;) kimmi

Kentuk
11-25-2006, 02:40 AM
White tee shirts, white name tapes, cotton fatigues with starch, black high gloss boots, perhaps 'jump boots'. Wood stocked M14 not plastic M16. Dry 'K' rations as well as canned 'C' rations. Three basic kind of uniforms, green fatigues, TWs (tan tropical weight) and green suits with light tan shirts.
Even in 64 your man was more likely to get assigned to Europe then Asia and the Army was oriented towards fighting the Russians. Vietnam was just starting and there was more optimism then dread.

Gary
11-25-2006, 03:04 AM
In '64, a "lifer" was inclined to volunteer to go to SEA before the war was over. At the time, there was no indication that it would last more than a few months and many wanted the tour on their records for promotion purposes.

By 1965, with the massive troop buildup, things had changed completely.

Little Red Barn
11-25-2006, 03:08 AM
Thanks you guys!!!!:D

Ed Rogers
12-03-2006, 09:35 PM
I was in during 1961 and 1964, the uniforms are right but the weapon was a M-1 until late 1963. I was one of Kennedy's advisors. We were told we would be living in a hotel and training the Vietnamese. Ha! I carried a M-2 with banana clip. That was also the start of drugs, it grew everywhere in the Nam. Not many people knew anything about Vietnam back then. As a soldier your interest were food, booze, and woman. Getting killed happened to someone else. I believe Ft Knot was a tank training post at that time. I was in Kansas with the 28th 1st Army at the time.http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon6.gif

Little Red Barn
12-03-2006, 09:51 PM
thank you Ed, kimmi