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Re: Combat equipment and clothing
Winter clothing in the Korean winters? Wonder what army that was, as it was not the army I was in.
Starting with the feet; I landed in Pusan in January of 1951 wearing what were called Shoe Packs (Pac's) with removable felt inserts, which you changed each day (we had 2 sets) and dried them with our body heat. Also had a few pairs of woolen socks which we dried with body heat, since the Packs made your feet sweat all the time.
Only had one pair of woolen pants which was part of the winter woolen dress uniform. Somewhere or somehow, I found a pair of water proof pants and wore that over the wool pants. As to underwear, just the regular issue shorts and under shirt.
The outer shirt was wool, then over that, a pile lined vest and over that, a hooded field jacket. No woolen overcoat as you see in the movies or parka. No sweaters either that I ever saw.
As to head gear, a pile cap, helmet with liner. Thank heavens the pile cap had a section or flap you could pull down to cover your ears and cheeks.
The gloves were the regular leather, with the woolen inserts which were like having none at all.
The sleeping bag was not designed for the Korean winters, so you just about froze slowly to death in one. The only thing that saved you from freezing to death was the fact that you only got an hour of sleep before it was your turn to be on guard for an hour, so your fox hole buddy could get some rest. If the CCF were to attack, you could forget about getting any sleep the rest of the night, as everyone would be awake and alert until morning. We did have ponchos, but not a regular rain coat as I had during my first hitch in the service right after WW II.
I did not have a bath or shower from the time I left Japan in January 1951 until 22 February when I ended up in the 4th Field Hospital in Tague, S. Korea for frost bite. I did shave as told, but a full cleaning of the body was not possible on the line. Even had body lice at one time due to sleeping in a Korean house when we had the chance which was few times in a year.
We were not prepared for Korea as to equipment, which was mostly used WW II left overs. The date on my water cooled machine gun indicated that it was made in 1917, so this was its third war.
Food rations were dated 1943 to 1945 at times.
Korea was one long awake nightmare for me. I got the feeling that the army just tossed me in Korea and said, you are on your own, make the best of it.
John Sonley 5th RCT M co. 1951