Tiger Stripe Uniforms of the Viet Nam War
It may seem like a silly idea to create a web page for Tiger Stripe uniforms. But just surf the net... There is more junk in cyberspace than legitimate information. So, with that in mind I created this site with information and photos showing the various types of Tiger Stripe uniforms from the Viet Nam war. Besides, I haven't found anything else out there on the subject....
All naming conventions are referenced from Sgt. Richard D. Johnson's book, "Tiger Patterns". If you collect Tiger Stripe uniforms or are just interested, you really should check out his book. It's a wealth of info. All the pieces shown in this site are from my twenty odd year collection.
A Brief History:
I've been collecting Militaria since I was in Junior in high school. Most of the stuff I bought was from surplus and used clothing stores. It was cheap and there was a wide variety of items from WWII, the Korean & Viet Nam wars. It could be plentiful if you knew where to look. The interesting thing about collecting United States items from the last three wars was that it wasn't considered collectable. Of coarse there were the high ticket items, like WWII German helmets and uniforms, etc, but you didn't find that stuff in local surplus stores anyway. None the less, it wasn't uncommon to find three or four WWII herringbone USMC blouses hanging on a rack and walking out the door with all of them for $20.00. The condition of the items were usually fair to marginal as mint items were unheard of in a surplus store. At the time (the mid to late 1970's) I was into the WWII stuff. However, one photo and a conversation would change all that.
Being a kid back in the late 70's, I was a destined to hear Disco... It just didn't have the kick or energy that a fifteen year old needed. So I started listening to KROQ radio in 1978 (in Pasadena, Ca.) when they played Punk. The Clash was one of the bands that got air-time... I liked their corrosive sound and wanted to know and hear more. I checked out all the magazine articles I could find. And one day, there it was.... Joe Strummer on stage wearing a pair of tiger stripe pants. Right then I knew I wanted camo like that. At the time, I had no idea what they were or where to find them. All I had was the picture to go by.
A few weeks later I was scouring my local surplus store and struck up a conversation with one of the guys that worked there. Somehow, The Clash worked it's way into the conversation and I mentioned the cool pants Joe Strummer wore in this one picture I had. Unbelievably, he knew exactly what I was talking about and took me to the back. In a huge box of ERDL camo he pulled out a pair of tiger stripe pants... They weren't priced yet but he said they were $9.95. It was steep for me at the time, but I had to have them. I didn't even know they were Viet Nam era but I put two and two together from the box of slant pocket camo he pulled them from.
I had always looked for WWII stuff never bothering to check all the camo coming in. It seemed to be everywhere and they couldn't give it away. One store I frequented didn't even bother hanging it up because there was so much of it. You had to literally pick through mounds which could take hours. I found a tiger shirt in one of the mounds and from then on, it was an all out hunt. My quest for WWII stuff went on the backburner although I still kept an eye out for quality stuff.
Years later I joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in 29 Palms California. Just for kicks, I'd wear one of my tiger boonies when out in the field and I'd always get some sort of comment. All of our SNCO's were Viet Nam veterans and most thought I was a bit nuts to wear something so outdated and out of regulation. But in the field they'd usually cut us some slack as most of them would wear they're old beat up utilities too. After one BENFEX ('85 I think) one of my SNCO's asked me about the boonie. I thought I'd get my ass chewed but it turned out he had a few pieces and wondered if I'd be interested in buying them. "Sure!" Keep in mind, this was 1985 and they were just old uniforms to him. One pair of pants, a shirt and three boonies all for a case of Budweiser in bottles. Not a bad deal by today's standards!
Most of the photos have captions which will give details on when or where I got each piece. Ever since I started collecting Militaria, I made a habit of keeping a small slip of paper (tucked in a pocket, etc) with details on the store (or person) I got it from along with a date and the price paid. It must sound bazaar, but I'm glad I had the foresight to do it even way back when.
Anyway, enough of my rambling.... Lets get to the photos!
Tadpole Sparse - Tadpole Dense - Tadpole Dense Variant
John Wayne Sparse - John Wayne Dense
Late War Lightweight Sparse - Late War Lightweight Dense
Late War Midweight Dense
Advisors Type Sparse - Advisors Type Dense