Original U.S. Vietnam War Named 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Uniform Grouping With Green Beret and Cambodia Escape and Evasion Map
Original Items: One of a Kind Grouping. This is a fantastic little grouping attributed to a member of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). These items belonged to a soldier by the name of Barkemeyer, who’s service information has yet to be discovered, making for a wonderful research opportunity.
The Items In This Grouping:
- “Beret, Man’s, Wool” Rifle Green Beret in size 7: The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) flash is “Asian Gold” in color. It became the only official Army insignia to continuously commemorate our slain President, John F. Kennedy, when the Army added a black border to the insignia following the Commander in Chief’s assassination in 1963. Due to a close relationship between President Kennedy and the Special Forces (President Kennedy first authorized the green beret), protocol was changed during the president’s funeral to permit a green beret to be placed on the grave site (normally, only done by each parent service). Sgt. Maj. Francis J. Ruddy, an original member of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), placed his beret on the president's grave.
The Special Forces crest insignia was adopted in 1960 and approved as the Special Forces regimental designator in 1984. Its design reflects both the lineage and mission of Special Forces.
In 1890, the crossed arrows were officially prescribed as uniform insignia for the U.S. Army Indian Scouts who served in the American west from 1860 through 1939. In 1942, during World War II, a joint U.S./Canadian special operations unit was established to conduct operations behind enemy lines. Members of this First Special Service Force wore the historic crossed arrows as their branch insignia.
The enamel pin on the flash features the intersecting dagger representing the V-42 dagger issued to each member of the force. The encircling scroll which arches at the base bears the Special Forces motto, "DE OPPRESSO LIBER" which is translated from Latin as "To Free the Oppressed." The reverse is marked as D-22. There are no markings present on the interior except for a faint 7 stamped on the sweat shield.
- “Hat, Jungle, With Insect Net” Size 7: Wonderful condition and as with most of these jungle boonie caps, the insect net was cut out and removed.
- 1st Special Forces (Airborne) OG-107 “Type II” Uniform Set With Subdued Patch Insignia and Trousers: The OG-107 was the basic work utility uniform (fatigues) of all branches of the United States Armed Forces from 1952 until its discontinuation in 1989. The designation came from the U.S. Army's coloring code "Olive Green 107" and "Olive Green 507", which were shades of dark green, the OG-107 being cotton and OG-507 polyester-cotton blend introduced in the early 1970s. Regardless of the fabric, the two shades were almost identical. The OG-107 was superseded by the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) throughout the 1980s, and was also used by several other countries, including ones that received military aid from the United States.
The "Type II" was specified for production in April 1963 and had several slight variations from the Type I. The only change of any real significance was the "clipping" of the pocket flaps on the shirt, so that they no longer appeared rectangular. This example appears to be the “Type I” that was modified into a “Type II” by having the shoulder straps and waist adjustment straps removed. The insignia featured is a subdued set of the Special Forces patch and Airborne Rocker. The nametapes on the front are not matched which was common to see during the war, as “nametapes” were made from various types of tags and material with the soldier’s last name stamped or sewn into it.
- OG-107 M-1965 Field Jacket: The jacket is in wonderful condition and shows signs of extensive field use and wear but is offered without significant damage. The jacket itself may not have belonged to Barkemeyer as it has the name “Fitz” written and stenciled on it. Keep in mind that uniform items, especially field jackets such as this one, exchanged hands multiple times and this very well could have belonged to Barkemeyer.
It was introduced into U.S. military service in 1965 to replace the previous M-1951 field jacket, itself an improvement on the M-1943 field jacket introduced during World War II, although the M-51 continued to be issued for quite some time.
The front portion of the jacket has two large hip pockets and two medium-sized breast pockets. The collar of the jacket features a zipper which houses a protective hood. The M-1965 field jacket can be combined with a button-in insulated lining for cold-weather wear, as well as a button-on fur trimmed winter hood. The jacket is fastened with a large aluminum or brass (later nylon) zipper, with a storm flap fastened with snaps covering it.
The jacket is constructed of a durable cotton or cotton-nylon or cotton-polyester blend sateen fabric, which was windproof due to its tight weave and water resistant due to that and chemical treatment, originally in OG-107, first without epaulets and utilizing an aluminum zipper like the M-51 before it, then with epaulets and still with the aluminum zipper, then with the brass zipper.
- Modified OG-107 Trousers Converted To PT Shorts: These shorts are very iconic in the SF community and was seen on virtually every front in Vietnam whether it be in the rear, on a FOB or out in the bush. The shorts appear to have been made for PT use and the front right features a patch that has crossed daggers and is for the Camp Hardy Combat Training Center. Below this patch is an embroidered nametape for Barkemeyer. The 1st SFG was present at Camp Hardy Combat Training Center in the Northern Training Area of Okinawa and was in place to train the SF, Navy SEALs, and US Marines deploying to Vietnam.
- Tiger Stripe Camouflage Small Duffel Bag: This bag appears to have been constructed out of already existing field uniforms, more than likely was done in either Okinawa or Vietnam. The condition is good, but does have fading present as well as some stitching loose.
This is a lovely grouping attributed to a member of one of America’s elite Special Forces Groups. Comes more than ready for further research and display.
Collar to shoulder: 10.5"
Shoulder to sleeve: 26”
Shoulder to shoulder: 18”
Chest width: 21”
Waist width: 21"
Hip width: 20”
Front length: 33"
Collar to shoulder: 9"
Shoulder to sleeve: 25”
Shoulder to shoulder: 16”
Chest width: 21”
Waist width: 20"
Hip width: 23.5”
Front length: 30"
With the advent of the 1960’s, 1st Special Forces Group’s activities increasingly focused on operations in the Republic of Vietnam. 14th SFOD had conducted the first mission to train Vietnamese Rangers near Nha Trang in the summer and fall of 1957. Commitment of 1st Special Forces teams to Vietnam increased steadily thereafter, with numerous detachments deploying from Okinawa on extended TDY missions to train and lead units of the Vietnamese Special Forces (LLDB), Rangers, and Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG). 1st Group established a forward headquarters in Vietnam, which was withdrawn in November 1962 and replaced by “US Army Special Forces Vietnam (Provisional).” This headquarters element directed SF operations in Vietnam from 1962-1964, although the manpower continued to come from detachments of the 1st Group on Okinawa and the 7th Group at Fort Bragg. In October 1964 USASFV (P) was replaced by 5th Special Forces Group, which deployed from Fort Bragg. Even after the arrival of 5th Group, however, 1st Special Forces continued to dispatch teams to Vietnam, maintaining at least six ODA’s in-country at all times to participate in Special Operation Group (SOG) reconnaissance missions. These missions frequently involved cross-border operations into neighboring Laos. Between 1957 and 1972, 1st Special Forces Group soldiers earned eight Distinguished Service Crosses, 44 Silver Stars, 244 Bronze Stars for Valor, 499 Air Medals, 554 Combat Infantry Badges, and 88 Combat Medical Badges in Vietnam. These honors were earned at a heavy price. Forty soldiers of 1st Special Forces Group were killed in Vietnam, two remain missing in action, and 293 were awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat. The first Special Forces soldier to die in Vietnam (Captain Harry G. Cramer, 21 October 1957), and the last Special Forces soldier to die in Vietnam (Sergeant Fred C. Mick, 12 October 1972), were both members of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Operations in Vietnam were only one aspect of 1st Special Forces Group activities, however. The Group simultaneously carried out security assistance and civic action missions throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. A “Special Action Force Asia,” or SAFASIA, was organized with 1st Group as its nucleus, to support theater-wide military training, civic action, and disaster relief operations. Under this arrangement, 1st Group was augmented by the 97th Civil Affairs Group; 156th Medical Detachment; 400th Army Security Agency Detachment; 441st Military Intelligence Detachment and the 539th Engineer Detachment.
Much of the early civic action efforts were directed to Thailand and carried out in conjunction with military training missions. 1st Group’s commitment in Thailand eventually grew to such a scale that in 1967 the Group’s D Company was detached and permanently stationed in-country. Re-designated the 46th Special Forces Company, this unit operated in Thailand for the next four years. Among its accomplishments was the training of the Royal Thai Regiment (eventually a division), which afterwards deployed to Vietnam.
Increased experience in supporting civic action and. relief operations resulted in establishment of Disaster Assistance and Relief Teams, or dart’s. 1st Group organized a number of dart’s, each consisting of an A Team augmented by two doctors and 4-6 medics from the SAFASIA medical detachment. Engineers from Group of the 539th Engineers were attached as needed. These task-organized dart’s operated successfully in Luzon, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, and even in the outer island of the Ryukyu chain. The greatest successes of the program occurred during the 1971 Pakistan floods, and the 1972 floods and famine in the Philippines. Teams from 1st Special Forces Group were literally lifesavers during both calamities. Operating rescue boats, inoculating civilians, distributing food, and directing rebuilding efforts, the dart’s saved lives and salvaged livelihoods, and earned America many friends. The Philippines Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) for the latter action.
In 1972, just prior to the Philippines Disaster Relief Operation, 1st Special Forces Group was again reorganized. Companies A, B, and C were consolidated and re-designated as 1st and 2nd Battalions, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). The change was, for the most part, nominal. A “C” Detachment remained the command and control element, with a lieutenant colonel in command. Operational Detachments “B” were now designated as lettered companies of the battalions; the name and role of the “A” Teams remained unchanged. Even as these organizational changes were occurring, a chapter in the history of 1st Special Forces Group was coming to a close.
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