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MARK R. HENRY, MIKE CHAPPELL
1: Rifleman, Kiska Task Force; Aleutians, summer 1943
Though technically serving in the Pacific theatre, this GI is necessarily kitted out for winter conditions - the Aleutians lie far north in the Bering Sea. He wears bib-fronted, wool-lined, cotton canvas tanker's winter trousers under his 'M1941' Parsons jacket. His boots are either from an early trials batch of M1944 shoepacs, or the privately purchased civilian type on which these were modelled. Winter overboots, though dry and warm, could make the feet first sweat, then freeze. Members of the Kiska Task Force apparently wore the knife shoulder patch on whichever sleeve they liked. Attu fell to the 7th Division after a stiff fight, but although the Japanese had already evacuated Kiska the island still cost the US Army 2,000 casualties due to foot disorders and sickness. A variety of cold weather gear was tried out in this campaign, including mackinaws and the longer arctic model of the Parsons jacket.
2: Supply sergeant, South-West Pacific, 1943
This rear area NCO is dressed for comfort in a khaki shirt and shorts. It was very unusual to see combat GIs wearing shorts, since any scratches or insect bites almost invariably became infected (artillerymen sometimes wore shorts, but they were more static). Nearby is the early war issue pith helmet, but he is wearing a semi-official 'swing' soft cap, the slightly longer-billed version of the M1941 favoured by the 11th Airborne Division. His boots are the Australian-made hobnailed version of the low quarter 'service shoes'. On his pistol belt are a compass pouch, a canteen and a holstered revolver - either a M1917 .45cal or, more likely, a Smith & Wesson .38 Model 10.
3: First sergeant, 8th Army Headquarters; Japan, late 1945
In the chilly Japanese autumn this veteran NCO, enjoying the fruits of victory, wears his brown drab wool service uniform. The overseas cap is piped in infantry light blue. The 'Ike' jacket - offically the M1944 OD wool field jacket - was very popular as a Class A walking-out dress, and rapidly supplanted the four-pocket wool coat whenever it could be acquired. On his right and left collar points respectively he wears the EMs' brass disks bearing 'US' and the crossed rifles of his branch. This prewar regular soldier has completed two enlistments and has been overseas for 2.5 years, as shown by the diagonal and straight 'hash marks' (the latter for six months each) on his left forearm. His current posting to 8th Army HQ is shown by his left shoulder patch; on his right shoulder he is allowed to continue to wear the patch of the 25th 'Tropical Lightning' Division (inset, 3a) in which he served in combat. Below the blue and silver Combat Infantryman's Badge on his left breast his ribbons include the Bronze Star with 'V' for valour, and the Asiatic- Pacific campaign ribbon with four battle stars. Obscured here, he would wear above his right pocket the blue Distinguished Unit Citation (renamed postwar the Presidential Unit Citation).