Since the United States Army was adopted back in the days of the United States Revolution, soldiers and officers have wore coats and jackets. In those early days, most jackets were the soldier’s personal property they brought with them.
At a certain point in time, the U.S. Army began issuing service coats that soldiers and officers would wear. But at a point, the Army issued a jacket called the U.S. Army field jacket that was a part of the soldier’s uniform.
In today’s post, I am going to give you 13 cool facts about the Army field jacket. So scroll down and learn more about the history of the Army field jacket.
#1 Field Jacket Fact: Before The Field Jacket
During World War I and even before, soldiers and officers wore a wool coat with 4 pockets that was called a service coat. It was impractical. It was not water resistant, and was wore for everything – field and garrison.
In the late 1930’s, the U.S. Army realized they needed something more practical.
#2 Field Jacket Fact: Known As The Parson’s Jacket
Major General James Parsons had recognized a huge need for a better field coat. He used the design of a civilian coat and proposed what would be known as the M-1941 Field Jacket.
#3 Field Jacket Fact: M-1941 Design
The Parson’s Jacket was made of water and wind resistant material. The color was olive drab. In 1940, that Field Jacket was adopted by all Army service members. It was cotton outside and had a wool lining. It closed with a zipper and also had a button storm flap.
#4 Field Jacket Fact: 1943 Uniform Overhaul
The United States Army realized that much of the uniform’s wore by soldiers were inadequate. The Field Jacket was a huge part of this reasoning. They determined that fading of the color put soldiers in extreme danger because it was easily seen through camouflage. Plus, the coat was not as water and wind resistant as it should be.
#5 Field Jacket Fact: M-1943 Design
The M-1943 Field Jacket was made longer than the M-1941. It came to the upper thighs and it was first made with a lighter olive drab and later a slightly darker.
The M-1943 came with a hood that could be detached and a drawstring waist. It also had four large pockets.
While it was supposed to be field tested in Italy during the War, many non-combat personnel used their positions to get the new uniforms and left the others using the older M-1941 jackets through the rest of World War II.
#6 Field Jacket Fact: M-1950
Most soldiers still recognized it as an M-1943 because not much changed. The M-1950 was nearly the same except it had a button inside liner.
#7 Field Jacket Fact: M-1951 Design
The M-1951 was based on the M-1943, but the outer shell was a specially water repellent treatment. Instead of a zipper and buttons, the M-1951 used snaps. It came with a hood that could be buttoned on and had a pointed collar.
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#8 Field Jacket Fact: The Infamous M-1965
This became the outer wear of soldiers throughout the Vietnam War. The M-1965 has such popularity, you often see them on civilians. As a matter of fact, some companies have designed civilian coats in various colors based on the M-1965 design.
The M-1965 had a hood that could be rolled up and put in the pouch designed for it. The Field Jacket originally came in olive green but also came out in the camo effect too.
#9 Field Jacket Fact: How The Big Screen Used The M-1965
We have seen M-1965 Field Jackets used in television and movies. Just watch some of these and look for that M-1965:
- Serpico with Al Pacino
- Taxi Driver with Robert De Niro
- First Blood with Sylvester Stallone
- Annie Hall with Woody Allen
- Year of the Dragon with Mickey Rourke
- Run All Night with Liam Neeson
- and many others such as the long running television series MASH.
#10 Field Jacket Fact: The Invention Of Gore-Tex
Everything changed in 1969 when Robert Gore stretched heated rods which was polytetrafluoroethylene. He had discovered what would be called Gore-Tex. This started an evolution in military clothing design because this invention was waterproof, breathable and stretched.
#11 Field Jacket Fact: The BDU
In the early 1980’s, the U.S. Army began issuing BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms). The Field Jacket still looked much like the M-1965 but had a lighter weave and used an infrared technology which helped soldiers blend in to their surroundings when the enemy was using infrared detection devices.
#12 Field Jacket Fact: The DCU
The only change with this was the coloration. It was designed to blend in in desert environments. This was the primary wear in the Iraq War.
#13 Field Jacket Fact: What Current Soldiers Wear
In 2004, the current wear was released for United States Army soldiers. It is the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).
ACU jackets are quite similar in design to the BDUs and DCUs. They are designed with Near Infrared (NIR) Signature Management Technology. They also have IFF squares so soldiers using night vision can determine if the soldier is friendly.
There is also a flame retardant variation.
So this is the history thus far of the U.S. Army Field Jacket.
I would like to hear your thoughts. Do you feel the current design is competent, or what changes would you make?
When I was in the United States Army, I was issued BDUs.
As a kid, you would often see me on the streets wearing an M-1965 Field Jacket I had bought at a military surplus store. I loved that jacket and I have thought about going shopping for another one.
So tell us your experiences with Army Field Jackets.
You can post all comments and questions below.
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