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On Marines, Camouflage, and Salty Gear

with Jukka Salonen

When we think of Marines and the Vietnam war, we often picture them in Olive Green battle uniforms and webbing. Tiger-stripe camouflage… The whole works. To a part this is true thing, but there is much more than that. This article is written with the thought that even though Marines are mean and green, there is much more to them, colour-wise, than that.The Marines entered the Vietnam conflict in 1965. When they arrived, they did not have camouflage, except on their helmets. The helmets used the so-called “wine leaf pattern” camouflage helmet cover. It was two sided: Green Brown and a cloudy brown pattern. This pattern was designed originally in 1953, and reminds of the older WWII patterns used in the Pacific theatre. This pattern was only made for helmets and shelter halves and used by both the army and the Marines. It was also copied by private companies in the far east, and along with the cannibalizing of old camouflaged gear, found itself sewn into other gear by custom tailoring.

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