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US Army tank crewmen carried a .45 Colt pistol (in a brown leather shoulder holster or black leather hip holster). Grunts carried an M-14 rifle up until late 1966, then transitioned to the new "Mattel Toy"...the M-16 FULLY AUTOMATIC rifle (Rock 'N Roll is no longer authorized by the US Army...except for special cases; today's M-16 "type" weapons fire in short bursts only). Men wore a steel (M-1 helmet), and possessed no armor, other than a flak vest, which was normally never worn (Marines wore them a lot though). Carried several either 1 quart or 2 quart green plastic canteens, and 3 or more bandoleers of M-16 magazines per bandoleer, loaded with 18 rounds per magazine. They held 20, but 18 rds put less pressure on the spring (when kept in the suppressed position for an extended time). EVERY rifleman carried a belt of M-60 ammo (.308 Winchester/7.62 MM NATO) for the machinegunner, he carried 300 rounds himself, plus the 21 pound machinegun. Two belts, at 100 rounds apiece came in a .308/7.62mm ammo can. Two or three frags was about the norm for the average GI (hand grenades...the new all round "Baseball" type or the smooth "pineapple" type). The WW2 type grenades had "checkered" squares on them, like the Hollywood movies like to show.

Probably the biggest difference in appearance from the WW2 "Dog-Face" and the Vietnam War "Grunt" was the M-16 Rifle, Smooth Outer Shell Grenades, and the Helicopter. Remove those three items, and the Vietnam Grunt looked like a regular WW2 Infantrymen.

The GI was issued two sets of jungle fatigues, a pair of jungle grade boots, and six pairs of socks. In addition to this, they were also issued their pack (towards the end of the war the pack system became somewhat modular), and a web utility belt with suspenders.

The utility belt used a double hole and clip system for affixing things to it - the scabbard for a knife, canteen holders, and a variety of other items.

Personal items were largely kept to a minimum - every ounce you had to carry was carefully considered by the soldier who had to carry it! Still it was common to have letters, photos, and paperback books, as well as good luck charms and religious medals.

On short patrols the GI's did not carry more than the number of meal units that were required by them until they reached their first resupply point - a place designated on their map where a supply chopper would drop off food, ammo, and other required supplies.

A special type of patrol - called a Long Rage Patrol, or LRP (pronounced LURP) - mostly consisting of Army Rangers, Navy Seals, or Green Berets, carried a special ration, called a Lurp Ration, that contained highly condensed foods in order to save weight and maximize nutrition - or so the military claimed. They were not exactly tasty.

Also, if you are in the mood for a good read, a great recommendation is Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories by Tim O'Brien who served in Vietnam. While it is not a memoir, it is semi-autobiographical (strangely, a character's name is Tim O'Brien but is not represented as the author). In the first chapter (a.k.a story), it lists practically everything an infantryman in Vietnam carried, that being weapons and non-weapons (rations, stationary, etc) in a literary way. It also describes emotions and burdens they carried throughout the war, and allows one to comprehend the soldier's position, rather than just the knowledge of their physical items they 'humped' along with them. Again, it is for one with time and interest, but it is a great and equivalent answer. It is an excellent book and it is recommended to read the entire collection, but that shouldn't be necessary to ask, as it most likely won't leave your hands!

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15y ago

they carried a large duffle bag of all they can carry of food, and clothes. They were only aloud to have what they could carry on there backs.

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Q: What did soldier carry with them during the Vietnam war?
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