Original U.S. Vietnam War AN/PRR-9 Helmet-mounted Squad Radio Receivers - Set of 2

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. This genuine set of 2 Vietnam War Era issue AN/PRR-9 radio receivers is offered in very good condition. They have not been tested for functionality but appear complete and undamaged. These receivers were intended to work with the PRT-4 squad radio transmitter. They were intended to replaced the bulky PRC-6, which had been in use since the Korean war.

Each has a data data label on the reverse that reads:

DA-36-039-AMC-10415(E) U.S.

Both seem to be intact, though they do not have batteries, and look to have been refinished. The attachment clips look intact, but we do not know how well they will attach to a helmet, and they may require adjustment. The antenna on one unit is also somewhat loose.

More on the PRT-4 and AN/PRR-9

The PRT-4 and PRR-9 worked together as an attempt at a simple, lightweight Squad radio, albeit one-way. First fielded in Vietnam by the U.S. Army in March 1967, the idea was to extend an infantry platoon and/or squad leaders’ command and control beyond verbal, hand signals and personal contact communications. They were found to be very useful by Army Special Forces (Reference 1) and they were probably evaluated by the SEALS, Marines and other Navy units as well.

Interestingly, the recommendation for the adoption of this system, its tactical employment and its replacement of the PRC-6 radio was made in a 1964 document which was written by Colin L. Powell, then a Captain at the US Army School of Infantry at Ft. Benning. He would later rise to be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Secretary of State.

Shortly before the Dak To operations in November 1967, the 173rd Airborne Brigade received these new radios with the objective to replace the Korean War vintage AN/PRC-6 “walkie talkies” which proved to be too heavy and cumbersome in the jungle. By late 1967, the PRC-10 had already “come and gone” from Line units and the PRC-25 had become well established – but not as an individual soldier or fire-team communications set.

Using this new system, and depending upon circumstances as described by Captain Powell, the platoon/squad leaders carried both the transmitter and a receiver; squad leaders or individual riflemen carried only the receiver for one-way commands or advisories from the squad leader. The receiver was clipped to the M-1 helmet or it could be hung from LBE suspenders if necessary. Units of the 173rd that used them in combat initially reported that they worked quite well. At the same time, soldiers complained about the lack of a capability to respond to orders since they lacked a transmitter. Go figure, but it was still much better than what they had.

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