All Photos are property of Ed "Spooky" Nored

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RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70

Below are photos of equipment that was carried by the typical "Grunt" in Vietnam. The gear has been collected and photographed by Ed Nored. All rights are reserved. Please do not copy or reproduce these photos without permission.

 

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Shown left are the 2 most issued and utilized packs issued to the infantry ( the grunts) during the Vietnam war. Shown on the right is the lightweight rucksack. The rucksack could easily be removed from its aluminum frame. On the left is the tropical rucksack which showed up around 1968. It did not need the large  aluminum frame. Its back support was built in.

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Side views of the tropical rucksack and the early lightweight rucksack.

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Backside view of the 2 "Rucks".

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Here you can see the larger carrying capacity of the tropical rucksack compared to the earlier pack. Even the exterior pockets are larger.

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Shown left is John Sanchez of 3rd. platoon 3rd squad ( 3-3 ) with his back to camera. You can see the PRC- 25 radio attached to the aluminum frame from the light weight rucksack. Note Johns pants are ripped out at the left knee. The other man is Mike Mahr also of 3-3. Photo by Nored taken April/May 1970.

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Shown left is the PRC-25 radio fastened to the aluminum frame. A bed roll stands to the left of it as well as an extra battery (one of 2 extra ones they carried) the long whip antenna and light the weight rucksack.

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Shown left is an array of equipment carried by the RTOs.  The bedroll has been secured to the lower part of the frame.  How the rest of the equipment was fastened onto the frame varied from man to man. RTO's carried extra batteries and antennas and may or may not have chosen to carry the machete or empty ammo can for personal items. He may not have used the light weight rucksack but instead used the smaller "buttpack". Whatever equipment was chosen or available ,all was either tied on , strapped on or clipped on using  D rings. See canteens fixed to side of radio. One thing for sure, RTO's humped heavy.

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(Nored) Shown left is a collection of items that was typical of the "load" we carried. 5 quarts of water carried in either the 1 qt. or 2 qt. canteens. A man could carry more if needed. 9 C ration meals. 2 or 3 smoke grenades. 2 Fragmentation grenades. One machete, one gas mask  and an empty ammo can (optional) to keep his personal items in. One air mattress,poncho liner and poncho. Shown rolled up together. One claymore mine and/or 100 rds. of M-60 M.G. ammo. A small amount of C-4 explosive and a shovel was carried by one or 2 men of each squad. Not shown in the photo but carried by most were 2 trip flares. Other items would have been 3-5 cans of beer and or soda (Pepsi and R.C. Cola show up in some of the wartime photos). Packages from home also added to the bulk and weight of our packs. Men who carried the radio or the 2 men who made up the M-60 Gun team had different load requirements.  The items collected for this page are 60's dated. All the field gear is in mint condition. Their rich green color has not been sun faded ,nor washed out from months of rain as has the equipment you see in the wartime photos. The Tropical Rucksack was first issued in 1968. It did not need to be fastened to the aluminum frame and in some photos I see it with out one.

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(Nored) Our  post war photo shows a varied selection of meals that were provided to us. Each box came with a brown colored accessory pack. In each pack you would get matches, toilet paper, salt,sugar,creme substitute and instant coffee. One package of gum was included as well as one pack of cigarettes . I have opened up several accessory packets to show you the varied brands of gum and cigarettes  that came with them. Also shown is our improvised stove made from a ration can. Another photo is shown with the LRRP meal. A heat tab or small chunk of C-4 would be placed into the stove.

For a list of what was included in each box click here.

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(Nored) This is a photo of a a LRRP meal minus the  37year old food which I quickly discarded. To the right is our canteen cup sitting on top of a C ration can that's been punctured several times by the old "church key" type can opener to turn it into a stove. Two authentic LRRP meals are shown with the correct early canvas type pouch. The one opened meal reveals  packets of sugar, instant coffee, cocoa beverage powder and cream substitute. A book of matches is included, a tooth pick, candy bar, toilet paper and the plastic spoon. The 2 meals shown are Beef with Rice and Beef Stew. They certainly were a welcome change from the "C" meals. They were lighter but also required water. The weight factor savings of 9 LRRP meals vs. 9 boxes of "C" meals might have been off set by having to carry one or 2 more quarts of water..

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(Nored) This backside view of the Tropical Rucksack attached to the aluminum frame shows the " X " frame support on the pack. The best wartime photo that shows  this part of the pack can be found in the group of 4 pics posted at 2-13-70.

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(Nored) This shot shows how the quick release functioned to free your self from the pack when the shooting started. The front strap shows the quick release in its locked position and on the other strap you see the strap pulled up 1/2 way. One more little tug and the strap separates  and your free from the pack.

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(Nored) This shot shows one version of how we wore our bandoleers of M-16 ammo. Each bandoleer carried 7 , 20 round magazines. To keep tension in the spring of the magazine we only put 18 rounds in each. Two bandoleers were required. You could carry more if you wanted to. In the wartime photos I notice that Marcell Gorree and Ron McGlothlin carried a 3rd bandoleer across their packs. I also remember wearing them crossed across my chest thinking of the protection factor. The omnipresent towel around the neck. Our only protection or armor  was our helmet. It is not bullet proof . I remember one time we went on patrol and I thought I'd be cool and wear my boonie hat. With each step we took from the patrol base parameter I realized I had made a big mistake. I felt completely naked with out it.

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(Nored) The empty ammo can shown here is the type you see attached to the back packs of many of Delta company personnel. You could call it the "Grunts Briefcase". It was the only place you could insure protection of personal items from rain and dust. Shown are 2 items that were typically carried.  Writing paper and the instamatic camera from the period.

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(Nored) Everyone carried a machete. It was used daily to clear a spot to sleep. The point man on occasion would you use it cut his way thru the bush and on Log day we used it to bring down some fairly big trees. Best photo of us at work with the machete is page 18.

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(Nored) Many nights out in the bush we were startled from our sleep by the sound of the Claymore going off. The mine had 1 1/2 pounds of C-4 explosive in it. The shrapnel consisted of several hundred  small ball bearings or to quote the field manual " steel spheres". As seen in our photo  the 100 foot spool of wire had a blasting cap at on end. At the other end you connected the firing device. To detonate you simply moved the safety wire (bail) out of the way and squeezed, sending a 3 volt electric pulse to the blasting cap. Also shown under the mine is a testing device for the firing device to insure it functioned.  The best picture we have has Dick Fowler posing with the deadly device.

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(Nored) Displayed in this photo is a little trick we used to help us see the claymore detonators in the night at our guard hole. The interior side of a  discarded sleeve from a LRRP meal had a reflective quality. We also used white paper from our note pads. Both offered a brighter background so the detonators could be seen or found more easily.

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(Nored) Shown to the left is the bag to the claymore mine. All items were carried in this 2 pouch bag. The bag can be seen hanging  to the outside of  many of the packs of  Delta company grunts. Attached to the interior flap of the bag was an instruction sheet that folded down.

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"First Team" magazines

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(Nored) This bag was carried by our medics in the field. It contains a wide variety of instruments and bandages. Our "Docs" had to deal with a wide variety of ailments from stomach aches, jungle rot to combat wounds. The best picture of the bag is on page 16.

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Two post war accurate reproduction smoke grenades are shown. Smoke grenades once they started burning would actually set fire to the vegetation they landed on. You had to be careful with them. Delta company used the Yellow and Violet color the most. The red smokes were associated more with the helicopter hunter/killer teams. When the hunter found the enemy or target it would be marked with a red smoke. The use of hand grenades or "frags", as they were called in this war, were rarely used. On 4-24-70 I cleared two bunkers with frags. The post war simulated stick or block of C-4 shown brings back more memories of using it to heat our meals as compared to blowing things up with it. C-4 was wrapped in a cellophane type wrapper and is soft and flexible. What we did was tear off a small piece of it and burn it to heat our C-rations. We were also told to never stomp it out. I only had to be told that once.

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These are the boots and boonie hat I wore and the map I carried during the last half of my tour. Also shown are 4 letters out of the 200+ I sent home. Its all covered with Vietnam DNA. The red soil still covers the envelopes placed there by my own sweaty hands on Log day. On the toe of the left boot is a slice in the toe made from being careless with a machete as I cleared a spot to sleep one night in the bush.

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The poncho we carried is shown folded in half. The hood for the head extends to the right. The majority of the time we used this for making our hooches at night. Since most of us rolled our air mattress and poncho liner in the poncho and intern fastened it to our packs when it did rain we simply got wet. The best picture we have of its use is in the Grunt section.

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Pictured is the air mattress we carried. Sitting on top is a folded poncho liner. There is not one infantry, doughboy or footsoldier from earlier wars who would have not loved to have had one of these.  Truly a luxury item for us Grunts. Besides being soft  it kept you off the ground about 6 inches and that helped mentally. If you laid on top and moved or shuffled about it was noisy. That factor alone prevented some units from not using it.

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The poncho liner is shown folded in half. Note the camouflage pattern. At 5-6-70 theres a pic of the blanket/liner being used to shade a card game  on L.Z. Lolita

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With the air mattress placed on top of the poncho and the poncho liner/blanket intern on top of that. You would roll it all together as tight as you could and then fasten it to your pack. As mentioned elsewhere here at the Delta Comp. diary everyone packed their gear up the way they wanted so methods varied. The photo left shows the 3 pieces ready to be rolled up.

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Shown on the left is a  canteen cover ,  1 qt. canteen and canteen cup. Note the efficient design of the canteen cup and its folded handle allowing both items to slip into the cover. Very similar to W.W. 2 equipment. On the pack shots shown below a 2 qt. canteen can be seen.

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Grunts & the gear we carried (start here)

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