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M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches

Article about: Hello Everyone, I've had this M-51 field jacket for a couple of years as well as the patches and with the new forum thought it was the right time to show them. Even though I don't really col

  1. #1

    Default M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches

    Hello Everyone, I've had this M-51 field jacket for a couple of years same with the patches and since the new forum opened I thought it was the right time to show them. Even though I don't really collect uniforms and coats I got this one as its pretty unique as you don't really see field jackets with patches sewn on them. Furthermore, its a little weird as I believe when the subdued first cavalry patch and this style of nametape was used, the much liked M-65 was available. All the patches look original to the jacket and it even has a couple of field repairs. I'm not too sure what the helicopter patch above the US army nametape is as I can't seem to find it anywhere. Any info on that would be appreciated. I'm not sure of the originality of the "special forces" patches as I know they're widely faked. The black shield one seems like a fantasy piece, the CCC recon company Iowa and the shell burst look to be ok but I'm no expert on Vietnam patches. Thanks for reading and any info on the jacket and patches.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches   M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches  

    M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches   M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches  

    M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches   M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches  

    M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches   M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches  


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  3. #2

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    Good looking field jacket.. Agree all insignia on the coat are original, I would date this to the very late 1970's (Even though the M65 was already fielded). The large patch on the sleeve/shoulder is for the 1st Cavalry Division.

    The Air Assault Badge is awarded by the U.S. Army for successful completion of the Air Assault School. The course includes three phases of instruction involving U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft: combat air assault operations; rigging and sling loading operations; and rappelling from a helicopter.

    According to the United States Army Institute of Heraldry, "The Air Assault Badge was approved by the Chief of Staff, Army, on 18 January 1978, for Army-wide wear by individuals who successfully completed Air Assault training after 1 April 1974. The badge had previously been approved as the Airmobile Badge authorized for local wear by the Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, effective 1 April 1974." The division had been reorganized from parachute to airmobile in mid-1968 in Vietnam and designated the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The parenthetical designation changed to Air Assault on 4 October 1974 and the name of the badge was likewise changed.

    This is the second design of the Air Assault badge. The first being a pair of wings and in the center a lightning bolt and rifle superimposed over a shield.

    Within the Army realm this badge is also known as the "Bullwinkle" Badge due to the silhouette of the helicopter and wings looking like the cartoon character Bullwinkle the moose...

    Went through Air Assault training in the early 80's.. Was a decent course and it helped many overcome fear of heights and built confidence in many who attended.. Rappelling from 120 feet off the ground from a moving helicopter was quite a thrill.. Second only to US Army Airborne School..

    I believe the VN era patches are all reproductions as you have mentioned these are heavily faked...

    Smitty

  4. #3

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    I forgot to add that it was not uncommon to see Soldiers still wearing outdated pieces of uniform clothing while newer issued items came into the Army inventory.. Perfect example is this M51 field jacket. When the M65 was approved and was designated to replace the M51, the Army would issue "wear out" dates when a particular piece of clothing would be removed from the Army clothing inventory.. But it took time to field the new clothing and for every single unit/Soldier to receive the new issue items, hence the Army authorized wearing of old clothing until the "wear out" date. In some cases this wear out date would be 2 years or longer or shorter based on what clothing was being replaced. In this case a field jacket which for all intents and purposes served as a cold weather/inclement weather outer jacket. In order to ensure that Soldiers had cold weather clothing the Army thought it best not to restrict or forbid Soldier's from wearing the M51 field jacket until they received their new M65 jackets..

    I remember when we were transitioning from the OD green fatigues to the woodland pattern camouflage uniforms and many Soldiers were still wearing the M65 field jacket at Fort Campbell during the cooler months because the woodland field jackets had not yet arrived to the division. The priority at the time was going to units stationed in Germany that had more moths of cooler/colder weather...

    Smitty

  5. #4

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    Thank you for the info Smitty. I'm really surprised that the jacket was used in the 1970's. But it doesn't really matter when it was created as its still a usable field jacket. The air assault school certainly sounds like a thrilling experience, a 120 foot rappel from a helicopter would trigger my old fear of heights.

    Edit: just saw your last comment which makes a lot of sense. No reason not to use out the last of the supply of old coats which function the same as the new ones.

  6. #5

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    Quote by Rakkasan187 View Post
    This is the second design of the Air Assault badge. The first being a pair of wings and in the center a lightning bolt and rifle superimposed over a shield.

    Smitty
    Just for reference,
    A cheaply made version from my collection----
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M-51 Field Jacket and Special Forces Patches  
    gregM
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  7. #6

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    This could well be a 61 model. very nice & hey, are getting pricey!
    Regards
    René

  8. #7
    ?

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    The VN SF patches are really bad copies

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