Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Forum created for the purpose of living history and reenactor groups to interact with former veterans of the 6th battalion of the 31st Infantry
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby jbayer » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:58 pm

Your map looks very familar. The village marked #2 is Phum Tnaot. Delta chased the survivors of Chantrea up there and were promptly ambushed. We went nose to nose for a couple of hours and finally had to didi after a gunship dropped a 2.75 rocket on top of us. I couldn't call in any arty because the only support was two ARVN 155's. No way was I taking that risk.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby pointman » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:36 pm

That's him. I can't click a name though. Too many years.

Seems to me there was also a reenactment group in Britain several years ago that choose the 9th Division Viet Nam. Haven't looked into their whereabouts for awhile. My Great Grand Father Charles Wesley Bullock served with the 35th Indiana Regiment during the Civil War, and by chance, that was the Regiment chosen by a group of re-enactors out of Indianapolis. I think it is a cool way to study history.

I'll never make it to Italy, out of my budget, but would be interesting visiting this group. Italy has always been on my "A" List. I love historical places, but confess the food may be the big draw. Funny, we are having Chicken Cacciatore tonight, which I think is Italian. I have it going in a slow cooker, skipped lunch, and the odor of it drifting through the house is killing me. As I understand it, the French learned to cook from the Italians. Some Catherine de Medici took her chef over to France, when she married some King or other, and he taught them how to cook. Bet the French would get uptight over me saying that.

Hey Giovanni, is that true?

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

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:29 pm

Pointman, there's a civil war re-enactment group in my home town too. It's the 21st Alabama and my great grandfather was in the original unit during the Civil War...or as we say in the South.....The War Between the States. Say...wonder if my great grandfather ever traded pot shots with your great grandfather? :D
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby pointman » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:28 pm

Best I have on him:
September 9, 1861, Mr. Bullock enlisted for service during the late war in the 35th Indiana volunteer infantry, taking part in the battles of Stone River, Chickamauga, Perryville, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge and Siege of Atlanta, going thence to Texas, where he was mustered out October 25, 1865.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:56 pm

Looks like our ancestors didn't shoot at each other. Mine was at Shiloh where his Regiment was pretty cut up. It came back to Mobile to re-organize. Fought at the Battle of Mobile bay and later at Spanish Fort and Blakeley which was shortly after Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. He opened an oyster house and restaurant in Mobile after the war.

Wonder if Italians serve raw oysters on the half shell in Italian restaurants? Wonder if they believe you shouldn't eat raw oysters in months without an R in it?

Just looked it up... it would work...except for January.

gennaio January
febbraio February
marzo March
aprile April
maggio May
giugno June
luglio July
agosto August
settembre September
ottobre October
novembre November
dicembre December
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:21 pm

Niner Alpha wrote:Giovanni, I had no idea at the time that the flack jacket my RTO is wearing in the photo was special. True...I don't remember anybody else having one like it either. I sure didn't. He, like me, officially belonged to the 2/4th artillery and we both were given minimal equipment by Delta Battery of that battalion. I feel pretty sure that's were he was issued it.


Of course, it was just a quick note that may be interesting only for "militaria-enthusiast" :wink:

Niner Alpha wrote:
I remember those mackerel can booby traps. I remember the red ones that looked like the old individual serving Donald Duck orange juice cans we used to see when we were kids. I always wonder why they didn't paint them green or otherwise disguise them better. I remember thinking at the time that the VC probably figured the sight of the things was better than the casualties because the it was effective to let lots of us see them where we might just pass by them without either noticing nor setting them off.....like all of us had experiences like you said about passing by a booby trap unnoticed and them some guy several people behind you setting it off.


Never imagined they made some in this way, without "camouflage" them I mean. I've also read about them making some with you own c-rats cans.

pointman wrote:Seems to me there was also a reenactment group in Britain several years ago that choose the 9th Division Viet Nam. Haven't looked into their whereabouts for awhile. My Great Grand Father Charles Wesley Bullock served with the 35th Indiana Regiment during the Civil War, and by chance, that was the Regiment chosen by a group of re-enactors out of Indianapolis. I think it is a cool way to study history.

Yes, they were the "American Infantry Preservation Society", for what I know they are still active but had no website or similar anymore, just attens small loca events.. In Europe there is actually a lot of "movement" and several groups are rising up... I think is a good way for studying and "teaching" hystory too, I'm also a medieval period reenactor:

Image



pointman wrote:I'll never make it to Italy, out of my budget, but would be interesting visiting this group. Italy has always been on my "A" List. I love historical places, but confess the food may be the big draw. Funny, we are having Chicken Cacciatore tonight, which I think is Italian. I have it going in a slow cooker, skipped lunch, and the odor of it drifting through the house is killing me. As I understand it, the French learned to cook from the Italians. Some Catherine de Medici took her chef over to France, when she married some King or other, and he taught them how to cook. Bet the French would get uptight over me saying that.

Hey Giovanni, is that true?

John


Niner Alpha wrote:Wonder if Italians serve raw oysters on the half shell in Italian restaurants? Wonder if they believe you shouldn't eat raw oysters in months without an R in it?

Just looked it up... it would work...except for January.

gennaio January
febbraio February
marzo March
aprile April
maggio May
giugno June
luglio July
agosto August
settembre September
ottobre October
novembre November
dicembre December



Of course I strongly reccomend coming to Italy, It may seem a commonplace being Italian but I really think it's the place with some of the most oustanding things and places to see (and to eat!!). Almost everything in the human History started somehow from here, from law, technology, art and such, like someone said "We had a culture before having a country"... Shame is that seems like we are not able to make use of our heritage in the right way. Concerning food.. Yes, Caterina de' Medici started the French cousine tradition with his italian cooks... And even imported the notion of female undies!
If someone of you is willing to come here we will be absolutely thrilled for your visit, personally I actually live in Florence city center and I'll be honored to show you the cultural attractions of the city (I also work in the cultural sector being a conservator/restorer) and the real Italian cuisine too!
We ate raw oysters too even if I don't know anything about the right months to do so, maybe because it's more a french-like kind of food. Where I came from (South-East of Italy, the "heel of the boot") we use to eat several raw "sea fruits" including mussels, clams and... Squid and actopuses. May sound crazy but they are far more delicious than oysters!

ImageImage

This is my homeland:

Image Image

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My cousin told me that when he was in VN Sometimes it almost seemed to be back there, perhaps because of the color of the earth.

Sorry for the the long digression and happy veterans day to everybody (here's already tomorrow)!!
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:38 am

Hello there,
first of all hope you had a nice start for the new year.
Here we're waiting for the spring upcoming events, in the meantime this is a little display we had during a local militaria show, hope you like it:

Image Image Image Image Image Image

We starded following your advices (for example the bare rucksack frame with just a claymore mine bag, poncho with liner and a sock with rations tied on it). We made also two little posters about the involment of the division during '69 (you can spot them on the table), I also made an English version that I can send by email if someone wants to print his own.

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

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:15 am

Glad you haven't forgotten the site. Great display. Nice to see that you have taken some of our suggestions into practice as well for 9th Division reenactment. I'd love to have an English version of your display information chart. Email it to niner@6thofthe31st.com whenever you have the time.

I hope that when your group gets to reenacting in the Spring that you will send us some photos and information about your activities. It's very interesting to see a reenacting hobby enthusiastically entered into by guys in a country with a different language, culture and history from those of us who lived the actual history.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:28 am

Box_01_097.jpg
While I'm thinking about it, I found a photo with an assortment of ways guys would carry equipment. Now this shot was probably on a mission that would extend over more than a couple of days because they seem to be carrying the full load...or as full as 9th Division guys carried. It was from the Charlie Album in our Album section and was a photo owned by Bob Weber(Patterson).

That frame in your display looks a lot like mine if it had the radio attached and there were a few odds and ends attached. The claymore bag is right on.

I'll attach a photo of a group with a lighter load...but with by then required flack jackets from John Bullock.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:46 am

Here are a couple more photos of guys ready for the field that could be copied to dress your manikin as a version of the lightest form of field load. One is Mike Kirby...the guy looking at the camera. It's a photo from his photo collection. It's the "normal" Eagle Flight gear. Just needed a hat or helmet and the weapon. After a time, a flack jacket would be required and ..generally hated. No ruck frame. Just webgear with or without the suspenders. The guy in the bottom picture, Commestro, or something like spelling, might have been humping the 60 at the time. I don't see any M16 ammo on him.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:45 pm

Here you are, to see the full hi-res images click on the thumbnails. Note that these are really HUGE files and may need some time to load as they are made to be printed in A3 format:

Image Image

Let me know what do you think about them
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:48 pm

Your posts are very interesting, I am still amazed at the details of your efforts.
There are a couple of things that I will comment on. The M-16 on the mannequin in your display
is obviously newer than VN era, or at least the folding stock, short front handguard and long flash
suppressor are not things I saw in VN. But I'm sure it is hard to find items correct to that time and your
ability to find those items is impressive.
Your poster says the 9th left for VN from Ft. Riley , Kansas, but I think that it went to VN from
Ft. Lewis, Washington.
One of the photos on the posters is interesting in that it has a Spec-5 carrying a M-16 and a .45 pistol,
nothing wrong with that, just interesting.
Thanks again for posting about your group.

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

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:17 pm

Vern, that rifle looks a lot like a CAR 15. It was a commando shortened rifle. I only saw a couple in Vietnam. And they were carried by officers. It was kind of a status symbol and probably a lot of in the rear with the gear officers grabbed them before they ever filtered down to the field.

http://futurewarstories.blogspot.com/20 ... bines.html
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:29 pm

I didn't remember seeing one like that, but then, I don't remember what I had for lunch yesterday...... :mrgreen:

Like I always say, 'I have a good memory, it's just really, really short.' .......... 8)

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:01 pm

Vern, my problem is I have a pretty good long ago memory and a nearly nonexistent short term memory. I'm setting things down all the time to go do something...... like answer the phone and then can't remember where I laid whatever it was I had laid down five minutes before.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:34 pm

Niner Delta wrote:Your posts are very interesting, I am still amazed at the details of your efforts.
There are a couple of things that I will comment on. The M-16 on the mannequin in your display
is obviously newer than VN era, or at least the folding stock, short front handguard and long flash
suppressor are not things I saw in VN. But I'm sure it is hard to find items correct to that time and your
ability to find those items is impressive.


As Niner Alpha already stated the weapon on the mannequin is a period carabine version of the m16, often used by officers and/or special units. In this case we decided to display it on a mannequin representing a member of the Ranger Company attached to the division (E Co. 75th Inf, former LRRP), that may explain also the camo uniform and other odds and ends.


Niner Delta wrote:Your poster says the 9th left for VN from Ft. Riley , Kansas, but I think that it went to VN from
Ft. Lewis, Washington.



The history on the posters was taken directly from wikipedia, I will check this in information on a more reliable source!

Niner Delta wrote:One of the photos on the posters is interesting in that it has a Spec-5 carrying a M-16 and a .45 pistol,
nothing wrong with that, just interesting.
Thanks again for posting about your group.


I'm quite sure the man pictured is a combat medic (the bag on his shoulder is a medical material carrying bag), this may explain why he was armed also with a pistol. Other than that in this kind of picture I can have a vague idea of what "mud" may have meant in the delta!

Thanks as ever for your advices, we really appreciate them!!

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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:16 pm

The 6/31st was created as a battalion at Ft. Lewis and went to Vietnam and assigned to the 9th Division instead of the Americal, the unit they were originally penciled in to join, in April of 1968. Although the 9th Division ended up at Ft. Lewis after Vietnam, the 9th Division was at Ft. Riley Kansas at the time the original Division battalions were sent to Vietnam. And..the 6/31st didn't exist at the time the 9th first entered Vietnam.

I found two examples of the CAR 15 in the last publication of the Third Brigade of the 9th. One is of a dog handler and one a Ranger.

http://www.6thofthe31st.com/gallery/Oth ... blication/
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Delta » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:08 pm

See, there's that "good" memory of mine, I got the 9th mixed up with the 6/31st.
Just remembered reading about the "jungle training" at Ft Lewis before shipping to VN.
Well, at least I got one out of three right, the photo of the Spec5 was interesting......... 8)


The photo is from the cover of the Octofoil Magazine. This is how I remember us looking,
walking through the rice paddy, equipment, right down to the black watch band and
cigarette in hand. When I first saw that picture, it reminded me of me, but it was taken before
I got to VN.

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

Postby Gabriel Cale » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:33 pm

Hello Everybody, I'm writing again to let you see some pictures of recent events of our 9th Division reenacting group from Italy "Brothers In Vietnam".
We tried to follow every single advice you gave us and I hope you'd like to see how we put in practice!

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Here's a Picture with one of the girl of the group, reenacting a War Photographer:
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This is a picture of me with a Tiger Stripe uniform, i found a site of a 9th ID sniper with some pictures of him, and I've noticed that sometimes at the base he wore that uniform.
However I don't know if he wore it in mission and I'm trying to contact him to ask other questions about is role.

Him:
Image

Me:
Image

Let us know what do you think, thank you very much!
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:28 pm

Looks like your group is really into this reenactment hobby. Thanks for sharing.

You might want to fade some more of those uniforms. Too many of you look like new guys. Boots should be pretty weathered on some of the guys too...most of the black worn away to tan rough leather would be about right for at least a few of you and various other stages for the rest of you. Lots of water and mud played hell with the black on the boots. If you could get some strings of inert M60 ammo, standard NATO 7.62, for guys to wrap around themselves that would be a "realistic" touch. You might want a pair or two of "pegged" pants. Tailor the pants legs from the knee down to a kind of a stove pipe effect. The ends of the resulting pants don't get stuffed into boots. Some might try the tall socks tops to keep the standard issue pants close to the calves...made it easier to navigate through water that would otherwise fill up your pants legs and then leak out from the tied string closures, also made moving through tangles of vegetation easier without something catching. . See that photo of Mike Kirby earlier in this string.

The Tiger strip uniform could well have been used by the sniper. One thing about snipers was that they were farmed out to companies now and again for short periods and not members of any infantry company. Generally the snipers were E4 and maybe E5. I don't think you would find many PFC's...because in the 9th sniper school was a volunteer school that somebody would have to seek and then be granted permission to attend and mostly guys longer in country would be in a better position to get into the school. Another thing..to me... snipers were generally a little stranger than regular guys because what they were doing was exchanging bodies for short R&R's. Regular leg grunts didn't admire them in the least.

If you really want to be different, we had an E6 or E7 of Hawaiian birth who would go off on his own with a crossbow at night. He was before my time by a few months but guys remember him. His son passed by this site eight or ten years ago looking for guys that remembered him.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Gabriel Cale » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:45 pm

Thank you Niner, it's always time to learn something from you veterans. :)

Niner Alpha wrote:You might want to fade some more of those uniforms. Too many of you look like new guys. Boots should be pretty weathered on some of the guys too...most of the black worn away to tan rough leather would be about right for at least a few of you and various other stages for the rest of you. Lots of water and mud played hell with the black on the boots. If you could get some strings of inert M60 ammo, standard NATO 7.62, for guys to wrap around themselves that would be a "realistic" touch. You might want a pair or two of "pegged" pants. Tailor the pants legs from the knee down to a kind of a stove pipe effect. The ends of the resulting pants don't get stuffed into boots. Some might try the tall socks tops to keep the standard issue pants close to the calves...made it easier to navigate through water that would otherwise fill up your pants legs and then leak out from the tied string closures, also made moving through tangles of vegetation easier without something catching. . See that photo of Mike Kirby earlier in this string.

Thanks for these informations, didn't knew about those ways to wear the trousers. It's very useful to know.
Some of our people use reproduction of the jungles fatigues and tries to look them like used a lot by washing at high temperatures and put them at sun exposure.
One of the biggest problem of these events is that not everybody wants to add dirt to his stuff, so the pictures looks too shiny! It's even a problem sometimes to make them go in a little bit of water! :D
Next time I'll try to persuade the guys to get dirty!

Niner Alpha wrote:The Tiger strip uniform could well have been used by the sniper. One thing about snipers was that they were farmed out to companies now and again for short periods and not members of any infantry company. Generally the snipers were E4 and maybe E5. I don't think you would find many PFC's...because in the 9th sniper school was a volunteer school that somebody would have to seek and then be granted permission to attend and mostly guys longer in country would be in a better position to get into the school. Another thing..to me... snipers were generally a little stranger than regular guys because what they were doing was exchanging bodies for short R&R's. Regular leg grunts didn't admire them in the least.

If you really want to be different, we had an E6 or E7 of Hawaiian birth who would go off on his own with a crossbow at night. He was before my time by a few months but guys remember him. His son passed by this site eight or ten years ago looking for guys that remembered him.

I remember that cool story and I know that snipers weren't admired by grunts, but the only reason why I'm reenacting it is the literal love that I have for the M14/XM21 rifle.
I bought a very nice replica and I made a scope mount for it, that looks very similar to the ar-tel used in vietnam. :)
Here it is:
Image
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:04 pm

Yep, that's a fine looking sniper rifle. I don't blame you for playing the sniper. I'd do the same in your situation. :D
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Giovanni R. » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:07 pm

Hello there,
sorry to write after so much time but I had some REALLY busy months... I was able to read from time to time but not to post, so now I'm stopping by to say hello.
As Gabriel already said we had a couple of events in wich we were able to put in practice some of your useful advices, we are still working to be 100% correct but we are getting better at every event, we are also growing in number (at our main event in april we were 25, including 2 guys coming specially from Germany!).

This is how I arranged my RTO gear after the pictures and tips given on the forum:

ImageImage

As you see I changed the PVT ranks with the SPC ones, no more "separate" web gear but just rucksack frame with pistol belt, bandoliers and canteens clipped with d-ring and a claymore bag on the ruck frame. I've also used the folded down long antenna and added a spare battery.

We also got a couple of these:

Image

Some other nice pics:

ImageImage

I'm happy your are appreciating our efforts, we'll keep posting and asking for advices!
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Looking good , Giovanni. Well done.
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Re: Vietnam war 9th Infantry Division reenactment from Italy

Postby Blue Legs » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:50 pm

Man I have to say...y'all's stuff is legit! It certainly looks like you've put a lot of time and effort into what you guys are doing. We certainly hope that our unit can get to where you guys are. If you don't ming me asking, where do you guys find most of your gear and uniforms?

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