Were Servicepeople Allowed to Keep It?

Discussion in 'WWII' started by scotrace, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,309
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Another question that has got my curiosity going.

    It's been years now since my Dad passed away, but I seem to remember him saying that he had really wanted to keep some of his Army-issue clothes, but that they were all required to turn them in at war's end and discharge.
    Which, if true, makes me wonder how so much stuff survives. Were some branches allowed to keep things while others were not? Is my memory entirely fried?

    Could a service man (or woman) from WWII take their uniforms, shoes, leather jackets, etc., home with them after being discharged?
     
  2. Matt Crunk

    Matt Crunk One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,033
    Location:
    Muscle Shoals, Alabama
    Can't say about the other branches of service, but my dad was in the Navy. He was a Seabee and served in the South Pacific near the end of the war - 44-45. He kept all of his uniforms. I guess most of his stuff was lost or discarded over the years, but I used to wear his pea coat and a white uniform shirt occasionaly when I was a teenager.

    I'd think it would be the same for all branches.

    -Matt Crunk
     
  3. D-Day-Doll

    D-Day-Doll Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    The women's branches of service allowed women to bring home their uniforms. The Women Airforce Service Pilots did have to pay to take their A-2home though. I don't know about the men, but the women were given a $250 uniform allowance to purchase their uniforms from tailors and department stores that were commissioned to make the uniforms. Officer's uniforms were usually private purchase so they also owned their uniforms and were able to take them home after the war. Many women converted their uniforms into civilian looking suits when they got home.
     
  4. android

    android One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    255
    I was in the Navy in 1886 - 1990.
    Basic uniform items are yours and you paid for them out of your uniform allowance. This is given as an advance in bootcamp and then you pay it out over the first year. After that, you're get a small amount for maintenance and replacement. This cover basic, non-job related items.

    Some stuff like for example, flight deck boots or fire resistant coveralls are issued. You typically have to turn in your old worn out pair to get a new pair and you have to turn them back in when you get out.

    Some stuff is more closely tracked. Fire resistant coveralls had to be turned in. Regular blue coveralls or boots you have to trade in when worn out, but go in the trash when you get out of the service.

    Flight gear such as helmets, flight suits and leather jackets even though personalized typically fall into the category of stuff you have to give back because they are work related, not basic uniform items.
     
  5. Long time.

    bk
     
  6. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
    7,425
    Location:
    METROPOLIS OF EUROPA
    Forces kit and light fingered servicemen!

    Anyone here who has served in HM Forces/British Forces (and I dare say it happens in the US Forces too), will know that if you leave kit lying around, it goes walkabouts. Things just get stolen/procured by other servicemen!! So, if you have kit that you want to keep, but have to officially hand that kit in, then you hand in someone elses, and keep your own!
    (although many individuals will buy pieces of kit out their own pocket, because they can buy superior quality in things like boots, ruc-sacs, waterproofs..etc).
    There's also an attitude (certainly in the army, which I can speak for), where one piece of kit is never enough, so you try to stock up, because you just never know when it might come in handy!! (well that's the logic to taking it!).
    I know of things that should have been handed back to Her Majesty, but never were. In combat zones, it's even easier to 'lose' prized pieces of kit and they miraculously appear in your loft at home!! must be magic.
    I have no doubt that this happened in WW2 and any other theatre of ops over the centuries.
    I do know (as many of you will) from reading historical accounts, that for the 8 AAF in England, when crew were lost, other guys would take the dead men's items of 'kit' (not personal items), such as shirts, trousers, jackets..etc, and therefore have 'duplicates.' Kit then at times becomes a means to bartering for other goods, so just thinkk what a decent A2 might get you, quite a few boxes of Lucky Strikes I'd imagine!!
     
  7. matei

    matei Practically Family

    Messages:
    995
    Location:
    England
    One of my grandfathers went to the US was in the AAF during WWII and left with all of his kit.

    I was in the Army when we lived for a time in the US as well, and I came away with all of my stuff as well. I still have some of it... somewhere in a dark, deep basement.

    Certain things, like cold weather gear, web kit and the like was issued (although you could purchase your own) and had to be handed back in.

    I ended up getting my own kit as I hated waiting around to hand it back in.
     
  8. One of my grandfathers was so desparate to forget that he'd ever been anywhere near WWII that he didn't keep any of his kit.

    My maternal grandmother, however, kept everything that was issued to her.

    bk
     
  9. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,309
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Thanks again, Paddy

    So items that are marked "Property USAAF" or something similar. That's a turn-back-in item? Does this labeling make a difference?
     
  10. Danny L

    Danny L New in Town

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    So Cal High Desert
    When I was issued a N-3B in Germany, I was told I'd have to turn it in when I outprocess. Eight years later when I finally left, they never asked for it back. Maybe cause they never had me sign a hand receipt?

    Yes, basic uniform items are yours to keep since you pay for them with your uniform allowance money. Occasional items issued usually do not require turn in such as Gore-Tex jackets, pants, cammelbaks and gloves. It's mostly the high end items that can be used again by others. They definately wanted my flak jacket and kevlar helmet back when I left Korea a few years ago! ;)
     
  11. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,655
    Location:
    Northern California
    My dad (WWII Vet.) as well as my Grandfather (WWI Vet.) kept their uniforms; sure there were rules, orders to turn in Government issued items, but it wasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t enforced; no big deal. Who would want to wear pinks & greens that were used? The Government didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t see any value in wasting time hunting down. Take it!!!
     
  12. Twitch

    Twitch My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    City of the Angels
    That's what was in those duffle bags everybody had slung over their shoulders- clothes.:)
     
  13. 50 Gold

    50 Gold Registered User

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Returning Home Clothing

    My dad was a WWII vet and I still have his Ike Jacket, wool shirt and trousers. I remember the two buckle combat boots, belt, and tie, but they have been long misplaced. Seems to me I heard him say that that was the
    outfit he wore home although the cost came out of some uniform allowance.
    (I'm going to try to get some pics of the above items posted.)
     
  14. matei

    matei Practically Family

    Messages:
    995
    Location:
    England
    Do they actually issue cammelbaks now? I remember when I first saw them being used by a bunch of SF guys on a peacekeeping train-up. (I was attached to their squad as a lowly translator). They had purchased them out of pocke I believe, as they weren't OD - they were black, blue and one was even a bright red.

    They seemed like a good idea. In any event, all the partner countries started buying them, and ended up using them for the duration of the exercises. It must've been a great decision to by stock in the cammelbak company!
     
  15. The Wingnut

    The Wingnut One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,711
    Location:
    .
    I've read accounts of servicement upon separation paying for items that they wanted to keep, i.e. service sidearms, jackets, flight equipment, so forth. Evidently you have the option of buying items when turning them in.
     
  16. Twitch

    Twitch My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    City of the Angels
    It even depends on where you mustered out or where you re-entered the States and who was on duty. One soldier had his war trophy German weapons confiscated and another was allowed to pass on through. Same with clothes.
     
  17. Flitcraft

    Flitcraft One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,037
    I think there was probably a little more leeway in WWII.
    I remember reading somewhere, may have been the Eastman catalog- that the guys in a bomber group were supposed to turn in their sheepskin jackets. The first one did and the Quartermaster Sergeant cut it in two with a knife and threw it on a pile.
    After that, everyone else's jacket mysteriously "disappeared".

    I know my Dad was in the service until the early '60's and he had a treasure trove of gear he never returned.
     
  18. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

    Messages:
    752
    Location:
    Oak Park Illinois
    I don't know how it worked in WWII but I can tell you how it worked in the Marines mid 1970s. After all your various flight schools and after passing your flight physical and going thru flight physiology you could be issued flight orders. When you recieved your flight orders (flight chit) you could go to paraloft and check out your flight gear. This would usually be a jacket, a couple of flight suits, flight helmet, survival vest and other flight related stuff. You signed for it and you were responsable for returning it if you changed squadrons. You would have a check out sheet and have to get signed by all the different departments saying you had returned all gear, picked up flight and med records ect. When you checked into a squadron the process started all over again. Now if you knew and were friends with the S/Sgt in charge of flight equipment (paraloft) you could get him to sign off on your check out sheet without returning lets say your G-1....Enlisted men..I don't know how it worked for officers.
     
  19. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,309
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Bump.
     
  20. Treetopflyer

    Treetopflyer Practically Family

    Messages:
    673
    Location:
    Patuxent River, MD
    I think the US Navy has always let you keep your uniforms when you were discharged, based on the fact that you paid for them with your uniform allowance. Current regulations say that you can keep your flight gear if you are a Winged Aviator, i.e. Pilot, NFO or Flight Surgeon, and you are honorably discharged. Many people that attrite from the flight program have to give their gear back.
    To answer the question, yes Cammelbaks are issued to everyone these days. Hydration is the key to success, as it is often stated in the Navy.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.