The 187th ARCT’s equipment for Operation Tomahawk was much the same as it had been at Sukchon and Sunchon the previous months. Uniforms were M1943 Field Jackets and pants. A lot of HBT uniforms, (at least the pants) are seen being used as well. A distinctive part of the uniforms is a number of the pants appear to be modified very similarly to the way paratroopers had their pants modified in World War II. The pockets appear to be slightly smaller than the WWII ones and lack the leg ties. They may be the same, but that is just how they look from the photos I can find. It’s also even possible that they are WWII left overs even. If anyone knows let me know.

The most identifiable part of the 187th is the helmet markings. They used a half circle with lines to denote battalions. The picture below shows a variety of period helmet marks with the 187th’s on the left.

The web gear is standard fare for the Korean war. M1945 Field Packs and web gear. There is still a bit of older OD3 (khaki) items in use, mostly canteen covers and carbine pouches on the stocks. The canteens seem to be worn almost exclusively on the left hip as well. On the note of M1 carbines, I don’t see any folding stocked carbines in pictures, as well almost all seem to sport a WWII era “stock” pouch. (it was never meant for stocks but they fit and there was never a specific name for them vs the later style). Most carbines look to have the 30 round magazines in them and sometimes two taped together, but I don’t see any of the accompanying pouches for the 30 round magazines, just the regular 15 round pouches. It could be that they just are not visible in photos. The 3 pocket grenade pouch seems to have been a popular item as well as packboards.

Unfortunately the A yokes are not particularly visible here

Helmet are likely M1C’s judging by the A yokes of the liners. The chin straps are also the webbing style although it looks like there are some home made chin straps in some of the pictures as well. Besides the helmets/liners other head gear seen are Field caps (presumable M1943 but could be M1951) HBT caps and hoods on the jackets.

While not specific to the 187th the use of M1948 Russet Combat Boots stands out in this time frame as most units still sported the “Double Buckle” variety. The M1948 boots are very similar to the famous WWII jump boots, the difference being a full rubber sole (WWII had a leather space in the arch) and squared of heel and 10/11 instead of 12 eyelets.

Some final minutia; M1949 and WWII era wool/leather gloves are seen in use by the paratroopers as well. All first aid kits are the M1942 style (personally never understood why the Army stopped using the larger jungle first aid kit after WWII). The shovel carriers and shovels/e-tools are the M1943 variety and the covers are all the second pattern with the adjustable wire hook, and they are always mounted higher on the pack. Or in other words the M1910 hook is in the lower 2 positions on the cover. Lastly a number of GP bags are seen in use.

I think that about covers it, make sure to look carefully at the pictures as there are usually more details to be seen. And make sure to chime in below.

(Original Caption) South Korea: On Their Way. Paratroopers of the 187th Regimental Combat team, like these shown boarding a C-119 Flying Boxcar, were dropped just south of the 38th parallel early March 23 in an effort to cut off the retreat of the 15,000 man Red Korean First Corps north of Seoul. Supported by airborne Rangers, they bailed out of C-119 and C-46 transports in the Imjin River area. First enemy resistance was slight.
I’ve always been a fan of using the M1 combo pouches (they fit either a carbine magazine or Garand enbloc) to make a pseudo cartridge belt. It just always has a very unique and functional look to it.


  1. Pathfinder says:

    Good chance most of those M1 Carbines were actually M2’s.

    The pic that is marked “Multiple Different Unit Marks” is typical. Looks like Regimental HQ is cross loaded with 3rd Battalion. The HQ would be spread out to different aircraft.


    1. BAP45 says:

      For sure, just nice seeing the different marking types in the same shot.


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