Original U.S. Vietnam War River Rat Patrol Boat Modified Mitchell Maple Leaf Pattern Vest

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This vest is a modified Vietnam Special Forced Mitchell Maple leaf camouflage pattern reversible jacket that was modified into a vest. This type of modification was common for River Rat Patrol Boat crew members in order to deal with the heat of the jungle and sun. Overall condition is excellent, with functional snaps and some interesting modifications such as a large pocket on the back and pockets around the front. Size is approximately a US 41 (fits a 6', 190 lb man perfectly).

This type of camouflage pattern uniform was favored by Special Forces personnel during this early stages of Vietnam war. Generally referred to as the "Mitchell Maple leaf" pattern, it is thought to have been based on US Korea war camouflage.

CIA personnel operating in South-East Asia in the 1960's procured sets of Commercial Hunting Clothing from US sporting goods outlets, consequently the pattern was sometimes given the generic name of Korean war "Shelter half" from these commercial imports. "Mitchell Maple leaf pattern" camo clothing could be purchased from a variety of sources. As the war outgrew CIA control the US government placed orders for camouflage uniforms with several South-East Asian countries with the mismatching of shirt and trousers being common.

Patrol Boat, Riverine, or PBR, is the United States Navy designation for a small rigid-hulled patrol boat used in the Vietnam War from March 1966 until the end of 1971. They were deployed in a force that grew to 250 boats, the most common craft in the River Patrol Force, Task Force 116, and were used to stop and search river traffic in areas such as the Mekong Delta, the Rung Sat Special Zone, the Saigon River and in I Corps, in the area assigned to Task Force Clearwater, in an attempt to disrupt weapons shipments. In this role they frequently became involved in firefights with enemy soldiers on boats and on the shore, were used to insert and extract Navy SEAL teams, and were employed by the United States Army's 458th Transportation Company, known as the 458th Sea Tigers.
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