If you are wearing glasses, go for the 70's or NHS type.  Also popular were the "Grannie or John Lennon" type round glasses and obviously 60's Military issue sun glasses.  


A) Modern equivalent of US Army issue prescription glasses

B) "Ray Ban" look-alike, popular in the 60/70's

C) "Army aviator" look-alike modern glasses


Watches below described from right to left  


A) US Army genuine military issue, metal case dated 1968

US Army genuine military issue, plastic case dated 1966

C) Timex current copy

D) Genuine 60's civilian watch

E) Modern Seiko (but 60/70's style)  Type of watch was often worn by officers and NCO   

Please do not wear digital watches.

Jungle Uniform, Jacket/Trousers


Three main type of jungle jackets were used during the Vietnam War, the main difference being as follows.

1st pattern
poplin material, with exposed buttons, jacket with shoulder straps, side tabs and neck gas flap, trousers with button fly, leg ties and button waist tabs
2nd pattern,
 jacket and trousers identical to above but with concealed buttons
3rd pattern, type A 
in poplin, concealed buttons, no shoulder straps, no side tabs, no gas flap, trousers button or zip fly, no leg ties and buckle waist tabs.
3rd pattern, type B 
identical but made of rip stop material, trousers zip fly, no leg ties and buckle waist tab  


The real stuff is cheap enough.
ERDL cammo can also been worn for specific theme displays, check with your group leader.

Please fill up your pocket when representing field troops.


Military underwear is not essential, although most members do wear them. T-shirts should be Olive Drab. (See bellows)
Old white t-shirts are OK for early stuff (up to 1965) (don't forget you would have made a nice target with them!)


Cap, field, hot weather, OG-106, generally not liked by the troops.


This Photo also shows the correct issue T-shirt. This one is late 70's but is identical to the 60's one.


Watch out for post the war cap with only four vent holes instead of six. (These are not acceptable)

  bush hat.jpg

Hat, jungle with insect net, (the much loved boonie hat), standard issue from summer 1967 onwards.  

Post War with coarse nylon foliage band are not acceptable.  
No repro, Israeli or British boonie hats.


Three patterns of jungle boots were produced during the Vietnam War, with the 3rd pattern (see photos) being distributed from 1967 onwards. The first jungle boot arrived in 1962/63 and the 2nd pattern in late 1965. Prior to early 1966, the most common boot in Vietnam was the black leather combat boot. The black leather combat boot remained in use throughout the war for flying personnel for safety reasons.  

Black leather and green canvas US issue jungle boots for all members (preferably 60's but 80's OK),


The one on left is a 1985 US Issue, the one on the right with the seam on the heel is dated 1968 and is the 3rd pattern with the panama sole


The top boot is polished and as worn by Base assigned personnel.
The lower one is grey and dry as worn by field troops. Boots would nearly turn kind of a greyish/tan colour if not polished regularly.

 All 60ís jungle boot have vertical seam running up the heel. Also the 60ís all leather boot should not have a relief cut in the lacing area at ankle height.


Most troops in the field tended not to wear insignia on their uniforms. However if you do want to wear some, they must be the proper U.S. Army issue twill or Ďlocalí Vietnamese-made subdued types.

Colour insignia were only worn early in the war, except for 101st, 82nd Airborne, and the 1st Inf Div which retained their colour insignia throughout the war.  The subdued version was authorised for wear from June 1966, with most units achieving the changeover by the end of 1967.  


Full colour, merrow type subdued, Vietnam made subdued

Pin on rank insignia was authorised in the summer of 1967 and a mixture of pin on and subdued sleeve rank insignia will be seen until the end of the war.  The merrow edge type patches and ranks appeared in Vietnam circa 1970/72 in subdued version only. The full colour version was not distributed in Vietnam. Stay away from those as they do not reflect the type of insignia worn during the war.

To help you out, a detailed photo of different types of manufacture is shown. winsigniasdetails.jpg

Top is the merrow edge recognised by its thread tail.  Right is the US factory twill type with a cut edge. Left is a Nam-made one, which is of similar construction to the twill but with various backings and was roughly made by tailors.  

Prior to April 1965, the white name tag and the black on gold US ARMY tapes were worn. During the next two years, they were gradually replaced by the subdued version.  

Vietnamese-made name tapes and US name tapes 
They are the correct one and the most representative of Vietnam war. 

wtag5.jpg         wtag4.jpg

US-made embroidered or printed name and US tapes appeared late in the war and are best avoided 

wtag6.jpg   wtagprinted.jpg

US made nylon tapes, appeared in Vietnam circa,1970/72 and are best avoided.

Wtagnylon1.jpg    Wtagnylon2.jpg
Best avoided!

Tapes position: Prior to Feb 1968, tapes were worn either at an angle or parallel to the floor, Feb 68 to Sep 69 parallel to the ground and from Sept 69 at an angle for better visibility.


Remember we have not earned the right to wear these uniforms or insignia, 
so go steady as we don't want to offend Veterans.
When worn they must relate to the age of the wearer 
and rank.


Equipment, Helmet

M1 helmet with correct liner and green canvas straps
(not nylon, no Bundeswehr helmet/liner). This must be covered with wine tree/frog and leaf helmet cover, with virtually no graffiti.  You should have the narrow green helmet band with only few items sensibly attached to it.
(Acceptable, bug juice, C rat toilet paper or matches, cigarettes).


  helmetM1.jpg helmet.jpg

Here are some items you can carry in your helmet band,
TOP: cigarette pack, toilet paper and matches (all out of 60's ration packs)  


BOTTOM:, two different bottles of bug juice,
The matches on the bottom right are from a modern MRE and are not acceptable.

Basically donít over do it!

Load bearing equipment  

You need to use the M56 load bearing equipment. It comprises of canvas pistol belt, a set of suspenders (available in small, medium, large), two canvas ammo pouches, two genuine plastic 60/70 US water bottle with covers (no British French or German) and 1st aid pouch. All of these items are also available in the later 1967 pattern which was only issued late in the war.
The M56 is more typical of the Vietnam War and you will be able to represent an early or late period with them. Also required is an M16 bayonet. We would also advise people to obtain one or two 7 pocket ammo bandoleer (filled with mags or blocks of wood).  


Above the most common configurations, with a space left for your rucksack to rest in the centre rear.
The "butt pack" is an optional item and not required as this was only used early in the war and generally disliked by the troops.  


M56 suspenders with 1st Aid pouch and snap link, also seen is the M16 bayonet.


M 56 pistol belt with water bottle and early cover. The later type will have nylon trim, still OK for Vietnam.


M79 grenadier ammo bandoleers


M56 ammo pouch with 1st Aid pouch attached to it.

The 7 pouch bandoleer,
(note strap must be made of cotton for Vietnam era, not nylon


Work gloves dated 1990 but identical to the 60's one. 
These were often carried by troops in the field.

lw2.jpg lw1.jpg

The Lightweight rucksack is the one you should go for. Shown here is a lightweight ruck with rubberised poncho, cammo poncho liner and a machete tucked into it. Machetes were usually attached to rucksacks as they were cumbersome to carry.

machete2.jpg         machete1.jpg

A machete (60's type) and entrenching tool will add a nice touch to your equipment. Be careful, modern US Army machetes are different from the 60ís ones and are unacceptable (check your date on the scabbard and machete). The modern Alice ruck with square frame is not acceptable.

M56 entrenching tool and cover with bayonet attached to it.

snap link.jpg

Snap link. This is the correct type, this one is dated 70 on the reverse, (80's one are identical and OK).


Wear the right gear for whatever mission you are supposed to represent. Don't stand on base guard duty with a machete, rucksack or butt pack! When you wear a ruck or ammo pouches, make sure they are full.  Again do your research and check what your unit was wearing during the specific period you are depicting.



This is a very brief overview on female uniform.
Hot weather field uniform was made of olive green cotton poplin army shade 107 and later of ripstop material. It consisted of a long sleeve single breasted shirt with protective gaz flap, two breast patch pockets, buttoned shoulder loops, and a pencil pocket on the left shoulder.  
NURSEJACKET.jpg           DSA2.jpg

The trousers or slacks were tapered with two front bellow pockets, waistbands closed by two-buttons on each side.

The shirt and trousers could be worn bloused or unbloused.  The shirt sleeves were generally worn rolled up.

The uniform was completed with jungle boots or black leather combat boots and boonie hat or field hat.

 All nurses were officers, the majority being first or second lieutenants. They belonged to the 44th Medical Brigade, USARV or the 1st Logistical Command. Nurses would wear either pin on or cloth insignia on their collars and sometimes a unit pocket patch was hung from their right pocket.  Small items such as round nose scissors and pens can be added to the pockets as well as watches.

It must also be noted that many WAC (Woman Army Corps) worked for USARV and were employed in administrative positions where all ranks were found.  Note female shoulder ranks insignia differ in size from men ones. For more details on insignia see the insignia section.


44th Medical Brigade


1st Logistical Command, Colour


US Army Vietnam
Female appearance tended to follow civilian fashion despite military directives.  Hair regulation was to be well groomed and the lenght not to extend below the bottom edge of the collar.  Make up and nail varnish had to be discreet, hair ties had to be the same colour as your hair and jewellery was not allowed.



Take your number plate off (magnetic ones are very convenient)
Take off or hide your tax disc.
Have your vehicle in relatively good painted condition. No red primer was available to field troops in Nam
Hide or remove flashers/non regulation lights for the bigger shows.
No modern stuff on vehicles, like water /petrol cans.
For vehicle drivers, have a correctly badge shirt matching your vehicle unit



General Notes


Research who you are portraying and the unit, and take pride in what you are doing. Don't let Rolling-Thunder down and, more importantly, don't let the veterans down.
If you are depicting "base personnel" try to be clean shaven and keep your boot polished and black. This includes truck drivers, Nurses, REMF, etc, with jungle uniform pressed and in good shape.
On the other hand if you are depicting line infantry or units in the field, most of the time, the beloved jungle boots were of a greyish to a tan leather colour, all dried up and looking pretty rough, the same goes for your uniform, use an old one , don't wash it (once a year sounds good) and donít iron, generally give the impression that you have been wearing it in the field for a long time. Slight beard stubble will enhance the look, but don't over do it!




Regulation military haircut (No 1 for lifers only), no beards and earrings must be removed for the duration of the show

Moustaches and goatee-beards were mainly worn in the 70's.

Your look may be ideal for the 70's, but if you are portraying a mid 60's unit, your goatee will look out of place!
Tattoos were rare in
Vietnam (except those of a Military nature which were mainly worn by Airborne, Special Forces, Seals, and Rangers) so try to keep them covered.

So please use the right look for the period you are depicting.  




Line one: Name  

Line two: Initials  

Line three: Military ID Number up to 1969, then Social Security Number, (8 digits) 
and blood group letter on right hand side  

Line four: Unit/Branch of Army  

Line five: Religion

No black rubber silencer to be used (use tape or elastic band)


Check out our vehicles!

What you need to know
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Meet our Viet Cong team.

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