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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The King’s Field Jacket

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

This is SGT Elvis A. Presley’s M-1951 field jacket on display at Graceland. Yes, that Elvis.

Elvis served as a scout in A Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armor Division “Spearhead” at Ray Barracks, Freidberg, Germany from 1958 to 1960.

Elvis M1951 Field Jacket

Photo by Thomas R Machnitzki

Edited to correct spelling of Friedberg; Western civilization is now secure.

Vickers Guide: WWII Germany (Volume 1) Now Available For Pre-Order

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Vickers Guide has just announced that they’ve opened pre-orders for the upcoming Volume 1 of the WWII Germany series. Previous volumes on the M1911A1 and M16 families of small arms have become indispensable elements of my reference library.


With this volume Larry Vickers has teamed up with a number of subject matter experts, including Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons and Tom Whiteman of Legacy Collectibles, to provide additional insight into the wide variety of firearms being showcased.


First Volume of Vickers Guide: WWII Germany specifically covers the small-arms categories of Machine Pistols, Submachine Guns, Bolt Action Service Rifles, Bolt Action Sniper Rifles, Primary Service Handguns, Foreign Service and Occupation Handguns, and a wide selection of the other pistols used by Germany throughout the war. In all, over 60 firearms are shown in incredible detail to give enthusiasts of all levels a new appreciation for this incredibly dynamic time in firearms development.

Oder yours at

Inglorious Amateurs – Science and Technology Print

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

The Office of Technical Services produced several comic book cover prints for its 50th anniversary in 2001. This is the second historical Agency comic print from the Directorate of Science and Technology.


Sized 8″ x 12″ on a hard back, they are ready to mount right out of the package.

Now You Know What That Carrying Handle Was For

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Today in History: 31 October 1917

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the famous Charge of the Light Horse, in which 400 mounted infantry of the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments audaciously charged against over a thousand entrenched Ottoman defenders of Beersheba, Gaza.  Their success secured the area’s only potable water source before the Turks could destroy the wells and opened the way for the Allied capture of Jerusalem.


Painting  by Ian Coate.  

October 25, 1983 – Operation Urgent Fury

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

On the morning of October 25th, 1983, we awoke to reports that US forced had invaded the small Caribbean nation of Grenada, in order to liberate American medical students from danger posed by political instability. Joined by Regional Security System troops from a variety of Caribbean partner nations, they swiftly overwhelmed the Grenadian and Cuban troops. While Operation Urgent Fury was in name, a joint force operation, and included the use of Special Operations Forces, it highlighted many interoperability challenges, such as use of joint operational overlays and communications issues.


Several stove pipe problems suffered by the pre-Goldwater-Nichols military were identified during this operation. Additionally, Urgent Fury was conducted with many systems dating from the Vietnam war.

Just six years later, during the invasion of Panama, saw the first employment of several new weapons developed during the Reagan buildup such as the F-117 stealth fighter and the Marine Corps LAV-25. Grenada was a great learning experience for the US military as it highlighted issues with joint service operations, particularly in the communications arena as well as interoperability between Special Operations and General Purpose forces. For example, SOF also took a much more prominent role in operation Blue Spoon during the Panama invasion. We’ve come even further in the past three decades.

Finally, as with any conflict, lives were lost. Let us not forget the 19 Americans killed in action and the 116 who were wounded. Unfortunately, there were also 24 Grenadian civilians killed in the conflict.

PASGT Helmet and Armor Vest Testing

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

This circa-1978 US Army photo depicts a Soldier conducting a wear test of the developmental Personal Armor System, Ground Troops Helmet and Armor Vest, as they interact with use of the M202 FLASH system. PASGT was the first American use of Aramid (Kevlar) for an issue ground helmet. The helmet also offered a greater area of protection of the head resulting it briefly being referred to as the “Fritz” helmet due to its similar shape to the WWII German helmet.

As you can see, the Soldier is wearing OG-507 fatigues, although the Helmet features a camouflaged outer layer. The original concept was to just integrate the Camo pattern and forego cloth covers. This concept was abandoned due shine. Additionally, the print could wear off and the cloth cover better protected the Helmet’s Aramid material.

1975 Camo Trials

Thursday, October 5th, 2017


This photo is from a 1975 US camouflage evaluation. On the left is a vertical Tigerstripe print overprint on the ERDL pattern. To the right is a Tigerstripe pattern. Both uniforms are the Rapid Deployment Force cut.