Sometimes you gotta love the military for not calling a spade a “spatulous device for abrading the surface of the soil” (Joseph Devlin, 1910).
An E-tool is an E-tool. There it is.
What we have here is a “HAT, SUN, HOT WEATHER”. You’d think there wouldn’t be much to add after this.
This hat finds its origin with the bush-worn felt hat popular with the British troops and Australian diggers in the early XXth Century. The British military replaced felt with cotton fabric around 1944 in order to provide a more practical and durable hot weather hat.
During the Indochina conflict, the chapeaux de brousse, a hat resembling a sort of quilted cowboy hat with a snapped brim, came out. These were often locally made from recycled uniform, parachute or tent camo fabric and favored by French colonial troops and their local VNA allies alike.
Following the (official) US involvement in Vietnam in 1965, an urgent need for proper tropical field equipment ensued. Around 1967, a new hat pattern was developed and adapted from its predecessors in the Natick labs of Massachusetts…
The “HAT, SUN, HOT WEATHER” was to become a US military standard issue, available in OD popeline, ERDL, multi cam… or pink camo, according to where you shop. The overall design has not much changed today, and this hat is still issued to combat troops.
These covers are often referred to as boonies, because less common on Wall Street than the in boondocks.
In the 1960’s, they earned their stripes on US Special Forces incursions in humid South-East Asia jungles. I have read somewhere that on night patrols, the dome shape of the steel helmet left too much of a target silhouette for VC snipers.
Floppy hats were thought to be a better option, as they blended more efficiently with the natural shapes of the jungle. To accentuate that effect, the brim was often chopped-off and the edges frayed, as many period photos show. These boonies were soon associated with LRRPs, RECONDOs… along with the rest of the salty in-Country crowd. The boonie hat was originally were a statement of bad-assness. They were also worn by ARVN troops and Australian units before being adopted by more branches of the military.
These hats were as popular with troops as they weren’t with the higher-highers, too floppy in appearance for the starch-obsessed.
But they worked, and Vietnam would prove out a fine theater for all kinds of liberties with outfits and behaviors.
The hatband was designed to hold branches or strips of fabrics for field concealment while on raid. That piece of tape also made a fine display for grenade rings, pins and other goodies, when you took your party hat to town.
The four mesh-screen eyelets on the crown allowed air circulation while preventing bugs to p*** you off any further while humping through rice paddies.
The hat rolls up in a conic shape, making it easy to carry around in a bag pocket. The crown is shorter in front than in the back, which gives it a specific profile and ‘attitude’.
But lets get back on point with the NOS model we are offering for Fall 2014. Our specimen here is an original Government issue, to the best of my knowledge, and I’ve been known to have my foot in my mouth up to the knee at times.
The fabric feels like NyCo (mil-specs 50% nylon/50% cotton). The camouflage is of the tiger stripe pattern family. I am quite uncertain about the actual vintage of this issue, as research based on the procurement label was more confusing than enlightening. A great deal of infos can be found here for the investigating kind, as well as in several books, such as “Les Paras Francais en Indochine“.
I am guessing these might be an older stock from the 1980’s? In any case, they are USA made, as opposed to the countless ‘imports’ available from most Army-Navy stores today.
We were lucky to score two good size options: 7 and 7 ¼
US Gov’t surplus, manufactured in the USA. Limited supply.
* Tiger Stripe Cameo Pattern
* Mil-specs NyCo rip stop fabric (50% nylon/50% cotton)
* 2 ½ ” wide brim
* Adjustable chin-strap, leather toggle
* Vent mesh-screen eyelets
* Foliage ring hatband.
Hand wash when necessary, hang dry. Minimal to no shrinkage.
TIGER STRIP CAMEO
VIEW FULL SIZE IMAGE:
Tripper Denim Type III
Color: 13 oz Denim
Camo Chute Jump Scarf
Color: Green 100% Wool