Posted 11 years ago
Here is a recent find of mine it seems that some of you may enjoy taking a look at.
It has a number 49 on the back. What would this mean if anyone knows? It has a lot of character for a flak jacket that was worn and used during the war and seems to have seen quite a bit of use by a hard working soldier that surely would have made our country proud. It is about 24 inches from top to bottom and 20 inches across. I am not sure if it would be considered a medium or large jacket. I did put it on and it seems to fit fine. I am 6 feet tall and around 190.
The duron plates used in this jacket were the precursor to bullet proof vests that we know today. I believe Vietnam is the first major war that these types of items were used in more of a widespread manner. It is also very hard to find a jacket like this with the duron plates still intact. The jacket weighs about 10 pounds.
This thing is heavy and the fabric does not breath well. Can you imagine having this on as well as carrying all the additional gear a soldier would have in the oppressive Vietnam heat. It is amazing what soldiers can and are trained to do.
The following information is taken from the The Vietnam Database online posted by a Sgt. Hulka related to the M1955 Fragmentation Jacket:
This was an upgraded version of the M1951. It is sometimes referred to as a 'flak' or 'flack' vest. This cotton duck fabric jacket contained layers of ballistic nylon, including a 3 quarter collar. It had integrated angular plates made of duron to protect the back and lower abdomen. The basic design included a rope ridge on the right shoulder to prevent your carried weapon from slipping off. Later patterns had additional lower cargo pockets, rope ridge on one or both shoulders and incorporated webbing with eyelets around the rear edge to carry additional webbing (M1910) items. 1967 dated jackets had nylon pockets in front of the plates.
Thank you for looking my friends and please make sure to have an awesome week ahead! : )