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Author Topic: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back  (Read 779 times)

Offline Rakkasan187

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Another exhibit has been created and is currently on display in the command hallway of the US Army Sergeants Major Academy and NCO Leadership Center of Excellence.

This exhibit focuses on the changing Army from post Vietnam up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The exhibit is a throwback for many of our forum members who served during the Cold War period and post Vietnam periods. All of the items on exhibit are from my personal collection and with the exception of the Army green uniform in the upper left, all uniforms in the exhibit were worn by myself during my service. There are many instructors and civilians at the Academy who served during this period of time and it was nice to have them stop by and talk with me about some of the items when I was setting up this display. The Yellow PT uniform also know as the banana suit was our first real attempt at a "jogging suit" after Vietnam. Prior to this time, Physical training was conducted in fatigues and boots. The Army realized that many Soldiers were getting shin splints and other injuries while doing PT in boots. The Army developed this "track and field uniform" for Soldiers to wear during physical training. The PT shirt was a black and yellow reversible jersey that could be turned inside out when playing team sports (Half the team wore the yellow side and the opposing team wore black.) This uniform was in place through the late 70's into the mid to late 80s when it was replaced with the white/grey uniform with the words ARMY printed in black across the front t of the PT top. This uniform was also re3placed later with the grey and black PT uniform in the late 90's early 2000. That was also replaced by the current black PT uniform.

Other items of interest in the exhibit show our transition from the OD green uniform to the BDU or Battle Dress uniform. The initial uniform was of winter weight material and in 1983 when members of the 82nd Airborne deployed to Grenada there were numerous heat casualties due to the heavy fabric. This caused the Army to develop the lighter weight rip stop BDUs, similar in pattern with the OG 107 jungle fatigues that the Army Rangers wore during the operation.

The .45 caliber pistol was replaced by the M9 pistol, the steel M1 helmet and liner gave way to the PASGT or Kevlar helmet. Initially referred to as the "FRITZ" helmet because of the similarities in design to the M35 and M42 German Steel helmets of WW2. The Kevlar had proven itself in combat when an 82nd Paratrooper wearing one of the new Kevlar's was shot at and the AK-47 round hit his helmet but did not fully penetrate the layers of woven Kevlar material, thus saving the troopers life. That helmet is on display at the 82nd Airborne Division museum at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

C-rations were replaced with the lighter MRE's or meals ready to eat and through the years many variations and menu changes have come about.

The models of aircraft and tanks was the Army vision in the 1970's known as the "BIG 5 PROJECT". The Army was looking at 5 weapons for upgrade due to the shifting focus of directing our attention on our adversary the Soviet Army. It had been proven that American equipment was inferior to the Soviets models of Armor and other items since the US Army had been busy fighting the war in Vietnam.

The Army needed a new attack helicopter to replace the AH1 Cobra and the AH64 Apache came into the Army's inventory.
The UH1 Huey lift helicopter was replaced by the UH60 Blackhawk helicopter
The M60 Main battle tank was replaced by the M1 Abrams tank as the main battle tank
The M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was replaced by the M3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle
The HAWK Air defense missile system was replaced by the Patriot Missile System

These big 5 projects put the American military back at the forefront and all systems have been battle proven since joining the Army's arsenal.

Other items in the exhibit focus on training and the use of many GTA's (Graphic Training Aids.) These simple pocket guides assisted Soldiers with complex duties such as calling for fire, sending a radio message, calling for MEDEVAC support and other tasks and skills used on a daily basis by Soldiers.

You will also notice a Ration Card.. Even after WW2, Soldiers stationed in Germany and in other places were issued ration cards due to some items like coffee, tea, sugar and tobacco was rationed. The Soldiers were allotted a monthly allowance of these items and the ration booklet was stamped when those items were purchased. Gasoline was also rationed and each Soldier who had a car was allotted some many liters/gallons per month. In Berlin I was authorized approximately 200 gallons of fuel each month...

I hope you have enjoyed this short tutorial and enjoy the pictures of the exhibit case. As the Army move's forward in the 21st Century it is always beneficial to look back to see where we came from..

Smitty
 
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

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Offline ScottG

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 10:53:56 PM »
  Really awesome Smitty! What a memory overload for me! I wish I saved a banana suit as my Wife never believes that we wore them. She thinks we always just had the grey wind suit. Hated the reversible t-shirts at Ft. Polk, man they were hot! Great job Brother! Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 09:24:37 AM »
Thanks Scott..

Appreciate the compliment...

Sometimes our work is grossly underappreciated... We are more often defending the reasons we do certain things as museum professionals and many in the general public don't understand our efforts..

You and your staff are doing a remarkable job at your facility. I look forward to coming up for a visit sometime...

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline F-102

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 10:24:33 AM »
Very impressive! I am really glad so many continue to collect and preserve our military history.
Collecting USAF Air Defense unit patches

Offline Kohima

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 08:52:36 AM »
Great display, thanks !


K
On the edge of a tennis court far, far from home, the Sgt. shouted: Son, pass me a grenade !  The Battle of Kohima. Naga Hills, 1944.

Valhalla I am coming !........Led Zeppelin

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 08:33:40 AM »
Thank you everyone..

Trying to educate and preserve the past one exhibit at a time..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 04:11:55 AM »
Awesome job Smitty!

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 09:37:58 AM »
Thank you Paul..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Masonk

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 08:08:26 AM »
Excellent display, Smitty! Thanks for sharing!

Man, those yellow suits are something!
Eric
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Offline littlebuddy

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2019, 12:31:48 PM »
I enjoyed reading that Brother  :) thank you for taking the time to enlighten us all  :)

LB
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We are here for the collectors, not for profit. (PERIOD!)

Offline lewis505

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Re: The Army's Evolution 1970-1990.. Moving Forward While Looking Back
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 07:40:06 PM »
Well done brother!  Another top notch exhibit my friend!
CHRIS LEWIS
Fort Benning, GA.
lewis2505@yahoo.com

*always looking for items related to:
82d ABN DIV (any era) // 505th PIR // 551st PIB
50th Infantry Regiment // 36th Infantry Regiment

 

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