Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

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Giovanni R.
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Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:24 am

Greetings to everybody,
my name is Giovanni (John), an Italian reenactor and collector from Italy.
After meeting Niner Alpha on another forum he gave me the possibility to post some pics of my reenactment group (we portray 9th ID soldiers in 1969) on this forum; me and my mates would like to know what do you think -in general- about new generations portraying US soldiers and -in particular- what do you think about our impression. Niner Alpha already give us some hints, but every word (event criticism) from you would be really appreciated.

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Thanks in advance
Giovanni
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:07 pm

Welcome Giovanni. It's an honor for us that you, as an Italian in your native country, would want to go to the effort needed to portray 9th Division Vietnam troops. Looks like your group has invested a lot of time in learning what you can about the Vietnam War experience as well as take on the expense of acquiring the equipage of that war. I'm amazed that you even have some vehicles. I'll offer some tips at a latter time in this string. Just want to give our guys a chance to notice your post and to make some suggestions first.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:18 pm

Well Giovanni, you and your group certainly have an impressive lot of equipment and uniforms.
You appear better equipped than we were at the time. I was there in 1969 and can only speak for
that time period, and will mention what I saw at that time.
Here are a few things that I noticed.....
-There were no colored patches or rank on the uniforms.
-We were actually forbidden to have U.S. currency while in country and would never have had it
displayed on a helmet. Although many, like myself, had at least one U.S dollar in our wallet.
-A couple of the men appear to be wearing gas mask bags, I don't remember ever seeing a gas mask there.
-The tire pressure on a Jeep fender was in PSI and would have been much higher than 2.1, probably
closer to 25 or 35. The tread is wrong on the Jeep tires, but doubt you could find the correct tires now days.
-Anyone stationed in Viet Nam was automatically promoted to PFC (Private First Class). The Army changed
the PFC stripe from a single stripe to a stripe with a rocker (curved lower stripe) on May 28, 1968. So the
soldier with the single stripe on his arm is correct up to that date.
-If the woman in the last photo is a correspondent/photographer, then you are a lucky group as I never saw
any American women other than in the base camps.

I mention these minor things about the time period I was there, some may not apply for the years before I
joined the 9th, as I was part of the unit at the end when it was moved from Viet Nam to Hawaii.

I am amazed and impressed at the equipment and effort your group has put into this re-enactment.

.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:49 am

That's are exactly the kind of comments we were looking for, thank you so much!

Niner Delta wrote:-There were no colored patches or rank on the uniforms.

The colored patches you can see in the pics are used to portray two chopper pilots from D 3/5 Cavalry, we feel ok about using coloured badges in this case due their "creativity" about custom made insignia and such. There is also another guy with a colored lt badge, our combat medic, I'll tell him to change it!
Along with that, were combat medics always officers?

Niner Delta wrote:-We were actually forbidden to have U.S. currency while in country and would never have had it
displayed on a helmet. Although many, like myself, had at least one U.S dollar in our wallet.
-A couple of the men appear to be wearing gas mask bags, I don't remember ever seeing a gas mask there.


I'll let the guys know!

Niner Delta wrote:-The tire pressure on a Jeep fender was in PSI and would have been much higher than 2.1, probably
closer to 25 or 35. The tread is wrong on the Jeep tires, but doubt you could find the correct tires now days.


Unfortunately all the vehicles in the pictures were loaned by some local collectors, some of them had "fantasy" markings

Niner Delta wrote:-Anyone stationed in Viet Nam was automatically promoted to PFC (Private First Class). The Army changed
the PFC stripe from a single stripe to a stripe with a rocker (curved lower stripe) on May 28, 1968. So the
soldier with the single stripe on his arm is correct up to that date.


That's really interesting, didn't know that! I'm actually the guy with the private stripes, I'll change them immediately!

Niner Delta wrote:-If the woman in the last photo is a correspondent/photographer, then you are a lucky group as I never saw
any American women other than in the base camps.


Yes, she's portraying a war correspondent, with period cameras and such:

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This is the only way -along with nurses- to let our girlfriends and wives participate to our activities but we avoid taking pictures of 'em outside of the camp
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:53 am

In later 69 and into 70 Alpha and Bravo had pocket patches. It was something done in Alpha at a suggestion of one of the platoon leaders and the CO liked the idea and it happened. In Bravo I understand that the colors were different for each platoon with their Bravo Bears.

Alpha even had a pin made up late into 70.

By the way put "31st Infantry" in Ebay and usually there are lots of bogus Bravo Bear patch reproductions at any kind of price you want to pay.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:09 am

Here are a couple of ideas for a little variety in your uniforms that one or two guys might want to try.

In the Delta it was hot. It was hot every day, dry season or wet. Soldiers would perspire freely when in the field, particularly when working through thick nippa and straining through thigh deep mud. To keep salty perspiration from running in their eyes sweat bands were issued to those who had an interest in using them. These were strips of cotton cloth that were a couple of feet long and a few inches wide. They were made out of the same kind of cotton cloth that T shirts are made out of and if you folded them the narrow way a time or two and tied it around your forehead it would absorb the sweat. It was also good to wet it down from your canteen once in a while.

Notice Jerry White on the left. He reads these forums pretty regularly. That's Barry Wibble on the right, also with the band. He was noted in the Division newspaper as being a remarkably good point man and I think even gave lessons to others at one time or the other. He is dead now.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:38 am

Another thing you can do to change up the experience is add some "pegged" pants to the collection.

The Army issued the baggy pants with the draw strings with the idea that we would must be concerned with mosquitoes biting us on the legs.... or something like. Of course they had that all wrong. As far as pants legs go, tied baggy pants were great for collecting water when crossing blues and got in the way trying to wade through deep mud fields. So.... some troops learned to peg their pants. Rather they paid some tailor to do it. What that meant was that the bottom section of the pants legs, from about the knee down, was tailored into a stovepipe tube and the "peg" reference was, I think, because of the pleat made on either side of the knee. the amount of stovepipe would vary with the tailor and the requirements of whomever paid the bill.

Another alternative was the shaft of a sock with the foot cut out. You pulled these over your pants legs and then put on your boots. This worked on supply room issue daily trades. The Supply room thing was a way of getting troops who operated on short missions a lot clean clothes without having a laundry bill. A soldier would trade dirty for clean. And, incidentally, the clean hardly ever had a pair of pegged pants in the supply. And... the jackets would have any number of division patches on them or rank sewed to the sleeves.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:56 am

On the pants thing.... only some guys at any given time would wear pegged pants or socks to keep their pants legs in. Here is a photo in May of 1970. Dry paddy. In Cambodia. That's me on the left a few weeks before I became the FO for alpha. Note my pants leg and the tied pants leg on the guy next to me.

While I have the photo....note also the boots. Field troops didn't polish their boots. They wore them out pretty fast. The dye washed out in weeks and the scuff helped to remove whatever remained of the black. What I'm wearing here is not the first pair of boots I wore to the field I'd imagine....they still have some black on them.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:56 pm

"Along with that, were combat medics always officers?"

The combat medics in the field were never officers, they were lower ranking enlisted men, I never
saw one above SGT E-5.
All of the Doctors were officers, but they seldom went into the field.

Niner mentions socks, that reminded me that we put C-ration cans into socks and tied them onto our
backpacks, maybe that was easier than digging them out of the backpacks.

And as you can see by the photo, the artillery "pegged" their pants too. (me on the left)

I am curious as to how you decided upon the 9th Div., and the year 1969.

.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:05 pm

What Vern said about using socks to carry C's is a good suggestion. I used to do that too. Speaking of socks....some of us, like me for instance, gave up wearing socks as a regular thing. After getting ringworm once the aid station guy said if I didn't wear socks my feet would dry out quicker. I followed his advice as long as I remained with the 9th in Vietnam.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Delta75 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:14 am

Niner...the sweat bands that we used we actually arm "slings" that we got from the medics at the firebase that we were operating out of.

Jerry
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:46 pm

Niner Alpha wrote:In later 69 and into 70 Alpha and Bravo had pocket patches. It was something done in Alpha at a suggestion of one of the platoon leaders and the CO liked the idea and it happened. In Bravo I understand that the colors were different for each platoon with their Bravo Bears.

Alpha even had a pin made up late into 70.

By the way put "31st Infantry" in Ebay and usually there are lots of bogus Bravo Bear patch reproductions at any kind of price you want to pay.


Quite interesting, I was researching about unit patches and this may be quite useful, actually we didn't decide yet for a specific unit

Niner Alpha wrote:Here are a couple of ideas for a little variety in your uniforms that one or two guys might want to try.

In the Delta it was hot. It was hot every day, dry season or wet. Soldiers would perspire freely when in the field, particularly when working through thick nippa and straining through thigh deep mud. To keep salty perspiration from running in their eyes sweat bands were issued to those who had an interest in using them. These were strips of cotton cloth that were a couple of feet long and a few inches wide. They were made out of the same kind of cotton cloth that T shirts are made out of and if you folded them the narrow way a time or two and tied it around your forehead it would absorb the sweat. It was also good to wet it down from your canteen once in a while.

Notice Jerry White on the left. He reads these forums pretty regularly. That's Barry Wibble on the right, also with the band. He was noted in the Division newspaper as being a remarkably good point man and I think even gave lessons to others at one time or the other. He is dead now.


Delta75 wrote:Niner...the sweat bands that we used we actually arm "slings" that we got from the medics at the firebase that we were operating out of.

Jerry


I think you are talking about neckerchief:

Image

and muslin triangular bandages:

Image

we had some even in the pictures, but used as scarves. Surely we will wear even on the other way next time!

Niner Alpha wrote:Another thing you can do to change up the experience is add some "pegged" pants to the collection.

The Army issued the baggy pants with the draw strings with the idea that we would must be concerned with mosquitoes biting us on the legs.... or something like. Of course they had that all wrong. As far as pants legs go, tied baggy pants were great for collecting water when crossing blues and got in the way trying to wade through deep mud fields. So.... some troops learned to peg their pants. Rather they paid some tailor to do it. What that meant was that the bottom section of the pants legs, from about the knee down, was tailored into a stovepipe tube and the "peg" reference was, I think, because of the pleat made on either side of the knee. the amount of stovepipe would vary with the tailor and the requirements of whomever paid the bill.

Another alternative was the shaft of a sock with the foot cut out. You pulled these over your pants legs and then put on your boots. This worked on supply room issue daily trades. The Supply room thing was a way of getting troops who operated on short missions a lot clean clothes without having a laundry bill. A soldier would trade dirty for clean. And, incidentally, the clean hardly ever had a pair of pegged pants in the supply. And... the jackets would have any number of division patches on them or rank sewed to the sleeves.


That's interesting too, in wich years you started to do so? I've seen something really similar in some 1st Cav Div pics but quite late in the war, about '71-'72

Niner Delta wrote:"Along with that, were combat medics always officers?"

The combat medics in the field were never officers, they were lower ranking enlisted men, I never
saw one above SGT E-5.
All of the Doctors were officers, but they seldom went into the field.

Niner mentions socks, that reminded me that we put C-ration cans into socks and tied them onto our
backpacks, maybe that was easier than digging them out of the backpacks.

And as you can see by the photo, the artillery "pegged" their pants too. (me on the left)

I am curious as to how you decided upon the 9th Div., and the year 1969.

.


That's interesting too, our field medic has just been downgraded! :)

About C-rations in sock we had already seen it in several pictures, indeed some of us already did it (I'll post some pics of our equipment in the next message).

For what concern choosing the 9th ID and the year '69 there are several reasons: we started reenacting without a specific time or unit frame, so at the same event you would see a messy variety of things without a common thread but we wanted to look "better" and to make things more seriously, se we realized that we have to choose something more specific. We finally choose your division as this would give us the opportunity to portray several kinds of impressions due the various components of the Mobile Riverine Force: Line Infantry, Ranger E Company, 3/5 Cavalry, Navy SEALs and even Sailors. In this way even guys that are more interested in airsoft games and such can be "satisfied" (in these pics we are just 5 men but in the bigger events we are about 15-20). The Idea is to portray line Infantry and allow the possibility to represent even different kind of displays those who wish to (like the two pilots for example).

Other than that there are so many groups portraying units like Special Forces, 1st Cav Division, 101's and 82's Airborne, 25th ID and such -as made famous by Hollywood- but really few interested in portraying 9th ID even if under some aspects was maybe the most representative of this war: we wanted to highlight the importance of this "mistreated" unit to the public and to other reenactors.

Along with that, on the strictly personal aspect, my father's cousin is a 9th ID veteran and his accounts were one of the main reasons of my interest about the conflict.

For what concern the year 1969 it's mostly a technical issue, we use a mix of original and reproduction gear and some early equipment is not easy to find and we want to avoid ruining it.. There are also some equipments that started to be used around that date; one example are the jungle boots: in '69 -at least in theory- there was the introduction of the mud-traction sole (called "Panama sole" by collectors), boots with this kind of sole can be easily found in every size as they were produced until the 80ies (and there are some reproductions, too). On the opposite the so-called "Vibram soles" (the earlier ones) are not so common in many sizes and actually there is no reproductions available.

Image
Vibram soles (early)
Image
Panama sole (late)

As we wanted to be as much as possible correct doing that year we can allow whom has no possibility to get the early ones to buy the later model. This is just one of several similar issues, one of the other reasons were the important historical events happened during that year (Moon landing, Vietnamization, etc.), it was a crucial turning point.

Hope my answer were satisfactory, I'll post some other pics that shows more accurately our gear during the event
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:22 pm

These were our displays, click on the thumbnails for high-quality pics


M60 Gunner
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Rifleman
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Medic
Image Image Image Image

Grenadier
Image Image Image Image Image

RTO (that's me)
Image Image Image Image Image
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:20 pm

Now those photos will give us something to think on.

The sweat band thing may have started out as more than one thing as Jerry said with the medic slings. I know that there was one issue item meant for a sweat band that I got issued to me from the infantry supply at least once after I was told by someone that was where to go to get one. However.... don't have an example as I never got used to using one on a regular basis. I don't remember the issue neckerchief. I remember guys sometimes used towels that looked like towels draped over the back of their necks.....maybe some of them were the neckerchiefs.

The RTO thing brings a couple of things to mind. Looks like in your photo you are wearing both the load bearing gear and have the pack frame too. When I was the RTO I put the pistol belt through the pack frame..inside the bowed out part of the frame at the hip both sides. The straps to the frame went over my shoulders and there was no separate belt and suspenders rig. The pistol belt made the pack easier to carry by balancing the load on my back and hips.

Looks like you have too much stuff. You only need a couple of canteens too. I noticed some of your fellow soldiers are loaded down with canteens like they probably did in the 101st where troops were gone for nearly a month at a time in areas where the canopy made resupply difficult. I eventually went to one standard canteen and one of those larger, soft sided rectangular looking ones that held maybe a quart and a half or maybe two quarts. That turned out to be plenty. And when operations lasted more than a couple of days there wasn't much trouble getting resupply by air any place in the Delta.

I'm going to add two photos with "my" radio at the time. One shows the radio on a day hold. Note the long whip antennae.....arty and CO's RTO's tended to have these. The frame has a spare battery in a box right under the PRC25. RTO's generally carried an extra. Above the battery box, and just under the radio case, are two hand flares. This was because the Lt. FO had the notion I needed to carry them. Later, when I was the FO, my RTO didn't have to carry them as I didn't see the need. Under the spare battery is a canvas bag that, I think, had been an old claymore bag for C's and assorted personal items. Rolled up on the direct back of the radio is a poncho liner. Usually I just carried the liner and not the poncho....since I seemed to get just as wet with the poncho as without it. Note the canteen is hooked, not to pistol belt but to the frame by way of a D ring. D rings were always valued as equipment. There was another canteen some place on this rig...the extra one may be attached to the pistol belt at side front. By then I carried all my extra ammo in the bandoleers that the ammo came packed in while being the RTO. Later as FO I sometimes used the suspender rig and used the ammo pouches...and sometimes didn't.

Other things I carried as RTO from time to time ..Smoke grenades, a claymore in it's bag, C rations in the sock tied to the frame instead of in the claymore butt bag. The standard bandage. Personal items would be bug juice in a helmet band and cigarettes in one of those plastic slip cover cases, wristwatch, zippo, and a grease pencil. And sometimes there was a "bitch box" attached so that the FO could hear what was going on with his fire mission without the RTO having to hand over the handset.

Maybe some infantry guys will talk about what the infantry did.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:21 pm

On the boots. I brought back a mix matched pair. I told about it here:

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:58 pm

You carry a lot more equipment than I ever did. The tent halves and ponchos were too heavy and I never used
them, only took the poncho liner with me. I still have my original poncho liner and jungle hat, but no boots.
I saw the newer "Panama boots", but never had a pair, even in Hawaii in 1970 I had the older "Vibram boots".

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:54 pm

Here's a belated thought on the radio. In the rainy season RTO's would take an old radio battery bag and put it over their handsets and secure with rubber bands. the idea was to keep the rain out. That battery bag was pretty thick plastic and accordingly pretty heavy duty. If no bag, and rain water got into the handset the handset would start to buzz and be useless as a handset. RTO"s would pay particular attention protecting their grip on the handsets when crossing rivers too.

Tent halves weren't issued at all, I don't think. At least in so far as I remember. No point in them.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Delta75 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:27 pm

The "muslin triangular bandages" look like what we used for headbands. Never heard of neckerchiefs...maybe they were used further up north where it was colder.

We never carried any tent supplies...just a poncho and a few carried poncho liners. Most of our poncho liners were either sold or stolen by remps to be made into jackets by the local Vietnamese shops.

Some guys actually carried blow up air mattresses to use during the rainy season. This kept them out of the mud and water; however, they were also rather noisy when one happened to roll on the mattress. My platoon preferred that men "not" carry them. You certainly did not want to give away your location at night due to a noisy air mattress.

As to canteens...when I first arrived, I carried four or five standard canteens until I got acclimatized. Later I switched to just one triangle shaped "inflatable" type canteen that seem to carry more water than a standard canteen. I could also use it for a pillow at night.

Also.....after a few days/weeks in country, no one carried heat tabs for heating our C-rations....we all used small pieces of C4...it heated much faster without the annoying smell of heat tabs.

More later as my memory returns. :)

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:37 pm

I remember having an air mattress at Vinh Kim, but didn't take it to the field.
We joked about stomping on a piece of burning C4 to see if it would "Pop", but
don't remember ever seeing anyone actually do it. It did burn hot and heated
the "Cs" quickly.
Today's Army would probably frown on that idea...... :mrgreen:

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:43 am

The infantry guy picked up on the dog tag in the boot thing. I tried that a while but found the tag pulled tight under the boot string and uncomfortable to my foot. If I let the tag dangle it was sure to hang up on something. I gave up the idea after a while. But.... at least it wasn't clanging against the other tag around my neck. And... thankfully I wasn't blown to smithereens and somebody had to find a foot to identify my body. :D Some guys it didn't bother and they did do the boot thing.

The same re-enactor does have too much stuff on. One thing he can do without is the entrenching tool. We didn't dig fox holes. You dig down a foot anywhere in the delta and you had a hole full of water. The water table was that close to the surface.

Another thing...what's that walkie talkie thing and what's that boxy thing on the helmet? No hand held walkey talkie things were used that I ever saw.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Delta75 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:43 pm

Niner...most of my grunts taped their dog tags together to keep them from making noise...and...many used a non-metallic "chain" to hold them around their necks... I used a leather boot string.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Delta75 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:44 pm

Niner....are they carrying any starlight scopes?
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Niner Alpha wrote:The sweat band thing may have started out as more than one thing as Jerry said with the medic slings. I know that there was one issue item meant for a sweat band that I got issued to me from the infantry supply at least once after I was told by someone that was where to go to get one. However.... don't have an example as I never got used to using one on a regular basis. I don't remember the issue neckerchief. I remember guys sometimes used towels that looked like towels draped over the back of their necks.....maybe some of them were the neckerchiefs.


Delta75 wrote:The "muslin triangular bandages" look like what we used for headbands. Never heard of neckerchiefs...maybe they were used further up north where it was colder.


Maybe the term "neckerchief" may be misleading, that is the "techical" term (the one stamped on it) but probably no one called it in this way back then. Both the items were made with the same material (a really soft an tiny cotton, just like the one used for T-shirts as someone already said) the only actual difference is the shape, -triangular or rectangular- and I think they would be used in any way according to the needs (scarf, sweat rag, skullcap etc.)

Niner Alpha wrote: The RTO thing brings a couple of things to mind. Looks like in your photo you are wearing both the load bearing gear and have the pack frame too. When I was the RTO I put the pistol belt through the pack frame..inside the bowed out part of the frame at the hip both sides. The straps to the frame went over my shoulders and there was no separate belt and suspenders rig. The pistol belt made the pack easier to carry by balancing the load on my back and hips.

Looks like you have too much stuff. You only need a couple of canteens too. I noticed some of your fellow soldiers are loaded down with canteens like they probably did in the 101st where troops were gone for nearly a month at a time in areas where the canopy made resupply difficult. I eventually went to one standard canteen and one of those larger, soft sided rectangular looking ones that held maybe a quart and a half or maybe two quarts. That turned out to be plenty. And when operations lasted more than a couple of days there wasn't much trouble getting resupply by air any place in the Delta.

I'm going to add two photos with "my" radio at the time. One shows the radio on a day hold. Note the long whip antennae.....arty and CO's RTO's tended to have these. The frame has a spare battery in a box right under the PRC25. RTO's generally carried an extra. Above the battery box, and just under the radio case, are two hand flares. This was because the Lt. FO had the notion I needed to carry them. Later, when I was the FO, my RTO didn't have to carry them as I didn't see the need. Under the spare battery is a canvas bag that, I think, had been an old claymore bag for C's and assorted personal items. Rolled up on the direct back of the radio is a poncho liner. Usually I just carried the liner and not the poncho....since I seemed to get just as wet with the poncho as without it. Note the canteen is hooked, not to pistol belt but to the frame by way of a D ring. D rings were always valued as equipment. There was another canteen some place on this rig...the extra one may be attached to the pistol belt at side front. By then I carried all my extra ammo in the bandoleers that the ammo came packed in while being the RTO. Later as FO I sometimes used the suspender rig and used the ammo pouches...and sometimes didn't.

Other things I carried as RTO from time to time ..Smoke grenades, a claymore in it's bag, C rations in the sock tied to the frame instead of in the claymore butt bag. The standard bandage. Personal items would be bug juice in a helmet band and cigarettes in one of those plastic slip cover cases, wristwatch, zippo, and a grease pencil. And sometimes there was a "bitch box" attached so that the FO could hear what was going on with his fire mission without the RTO having to hand over the handset.


That's really gold for me, I tried to wear the radio in the way you stated and it's much much more comfortable indeed! Did you remember how you were able to carry the poncho liner on the radio? Tied up with some cord or similar? Along with that, how/where did you carry grenades without ammo pouches?

Looking at the pictures I have of my uncle I've noticed exactly the same arrangement (he was an RTO too):

Image

Did you suggest me to use the long antenna? Did it work even folded down like in this picture?

Image

(P.S. what are you wearing as headgear? Vietnamese pith Helmet?)

Sorry for the question-burst.. I will surely adopt your suggestions!

Niner Alpha wrote: Looks like you have too much stuff. You only need a couple of canteens too. I noticed some of your fellow soldiers are loaded down with canteens like they probably did in the 101st where troops were gone for nearly a month at a time in areas where the canopy made resupply difficult. I eventually went to one standard canteen and one of those larger, soft sided rectangular looking ones that held maybe a quart and a half or maybe two quarts. That turned out to be plenty. And when operations lasted more than a couple of days there wasn't much trouble getting resupply by air any place in the Delta.


Delta75 wrote: We never carried any tent supplies...just a poncho and a few carried poncho liners. Most of our poncho liners were either sold or stolen by remps to be made into jackets by the local Vietnamese shops.

Some guys actually carried blow up air mattresses to use during the rainy season. This kept them out of the mud and water; however, they were also rather noisy when one happened to roll on the mattress. My platoon preferred that men "not" carry them. You certainly did not want to give away your location at night due to a noisy air mattress.

As to canteens...when I first arrived, I carried four or five standard canteens until I got acclimatized. Later I switched to just one triangle shaped "inflatable" type canteen that seem to carry more water than a standard canteen. I could also use it for a pillow at night.

Also.....after a few days/weeks in country, no one carried heat tabs for heating our C-rations....we all used small pieces of C4...it heated much faster without the annoying smell of heat tabs.

More later as my memory returns. :)

Jerry


Niner Alpha wrote:The infantry guy picked up on the dog tag in the boot thing. I tried that a while but found the tag pulled tight under the boot string and uncomfortable to my foot. If I let the tag dangle it was sure to hang up on something. I gave up the idea after a while. But.... at least it wasn't clanging against the other tag around my neck. And... thankfully I wasn't blown to smithereens and somebody had to find a foot to identify my body. :D Some guys it didn't bother and they did do the boot thing.

The same re-enactor does have too much stuff on. One thing he can do without is the entrenching tool. We didn't dig fox holes. You dig down a foot anywhere in the delta and you had a hole full of water. The water table was that close to the surface.


About the tents we are forced to use some as some events are during cold months and we need a place to sleep bynight, we have a pic from the 9th ID showing one so we tought that it may be an acceptable compromise but we'll try to avoid them as much as we can.

Other than that we'll loose the extra things and avoid carrying more than 2 or 3 canteens!

The guy loaded with the canteen is our Doc, we read somewhere that medics carried an higher amount of water than the standard GI, did you ever noticed something similar?



Niner Alpha wrote:Another thing...what's that walkie talkie thing and what's that boxy thing on the helmet? No hand held walkey talkie things were used that I ever saw.


The walkie talkie is a portable radio and the thing on the helmet is it's receiver. I'm not surprised you've never seen it as it had a little use on the field, here you can read some infos if you wish: http://www.vietnamgear.com/kit.aspx?kit=600

this is a period pic showing it:
Image
(A soldier of the 9th Infantry Division changes the battery of his PRT-4 handheld transmitter.)
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:41 pm

Looks like your cousin is drying his socks out on his helmet . Another good reason not to wear socks. :D

The NVA hat I'm wearing in the photo is something I picked up in Cambodia at a place called Chantrea where the photo was taken. At the time we were waiting for slicks to come pick us up. The bag under my arm is also something I picked up at the same location.....at the time I may have had my poncho liner stuffed in it. The NVA hat I gave to a friend to take home with him a few weeks after the photo. The bag was confiscated on my exit from Vietnam because I didn't have a document saying it was a legitimate war souvenir. No chit...no bag. No big deal. It wasn't anything I was going to miss. I don't know why I even hung on to it that long.

I don't remember how I tied the poncho liner on the back of the radio. Think....maybe some extra boot laces.

Here is another bit of information that may or may not be interesting added to your list of possible things to do to change up your role playing. As far as headgear goes, some of the time there was a standing battalion order that all troops in the field must wear helmets. Then sometimes they let you wear whatever you wanted as headgear. Many grunts, left to their own choices, would ditch the heavy helmet for the more comfortable jungle hat. The jungle hat was perhaps the most cherished piece of clothing. It kept the sun out of your eyes and the rain off the back of your neck. Helmets were more often thought of as heavy, hot, and a place to write graffiti. Speaking of which I think I started recording every place name I had been to.... firebase names, towns, whatever I took a notion to write down on my helmet cover.

Here is a hat story that comes to mind. One time Alpha was about a thousand meters outside the 25th Division base camp of Chu Chi in early 1970. The location of the famous Tunnels Of Chu Chi that have been written about often and that the Vietnamese use as a tourist attraction now. Seems the 25th, who we were opcon to at that time, brought us in to see if we could figure out why they had so much activity just outside their base camp. The 25th must have been run by the dumbest senior officers in Vietnam at the time, judging by hind sight. Well one day in the week we spent there and getting into contact every day, a few of us were sitting around in a clearing. We were taking a break in the 100 degree heat and had our gear and even our hats off. Shooting started with another element a few hundred yards off. Everybody, without a word, reached for their hats first and put them on. The CO, seeing this, made a comment about how funny that was, as those jungle hats wouldn't stop any bullets. That was true enough, but they also worked in your favor against getting a heat stroke.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:13 pm

I missed the folded antennae question. The long whip folded would still work...just not for very far, nor as good as the short whip. The fold up...with rubber bands to keep it together was what we did when we were about to get on a chopper.

I guess you know the PRC 25 was built with the expectation that it would reach only about as far as the distance support artillery could fire. That meant with the long whip out, it could broadcast and receive over about 10 kilometers on a good day. Effective close arty support was around 8000 meters and beyond that 105 fire was a little erratic for very close support. The short whip was used at squad level because short distance was all a platoon generally needed.

If you are setting up a rear HQ section you might want to set up a Two Niner Two. That was basically a cable attached to an antennae that looked like a star burst tv antennae and at the end of a sectioned aluminum pipe that was erected to be maybe 20 feet in the air. This gave it a little more reach in commo. Of course these were back in base camp.

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