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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 05 May 09, 02:50
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Black Scarves

Peoples:

The current crop of GIs who are doing security work for a couple of PRTs in southern Iraq are: Task Force 1-2 Infantry Company of the 172nd Infantry Brigade of the 172 Brigade (Nighthawks). TF 1-2/172/172BDE

These guys are wearing black scarves under their blouses in honor of the USA Vietnam veterans of the 1-2. The only thing they can tell me is that once upon a time in Vietnam the 1-2 came upon a cache of black cloth which would be made into VC uniforms, instead their commander had them made up into bandanas which they wore.

Can anyone give me more details on this particular unit and how these black scares came to be? I'm sure the guys here would appreciate knowing the whole story.

Thanks in advance. TB49
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  #2  
Old 05 May 09, 11:45
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I am not saying there is nothing to it, but it could be the military equivelent of urban myth. For eg:

In the British Army, one of the most venerable line regiments, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, wear distinctive red and white hackles in their berets. This tradition supposdely dates to 1778, when the Fusiliers took white hackles from French dead at St Lucia, dipped the tips in the blood of their enemies - and the tradition has remained ever since.

However, no historian has ever found a reliable account of said incident...
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  #3  
Old 05 May 09, 12:00
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TB, you should ask KEN JENSEN, he's in contact with some Vietnam vets from 1-2 Inf. Here's a good pic showing several 'black scarves' at Bu Dop, 8 Dec 67:

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  #4  
Old 05 May 09, 12:40
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I found this item:
Quote:
“BLACK SCARVES”

On April 30, 1966 in a sweep through the village of Lo Go the 1st Battalion was engage in heavy fighting and it was during this time that a large quantity of black cloth was captured. This cloth was used by the Viet Cong to make their "Black Pajama" uniform. At the request of battalion commander LTC Richard Prillaman this cloth was made into the scarves worn by the battalion in Vietnam. It was thought to be more appropriate than the towels the men were wearing around their necks. It is from this that the battalion has as its nickname “Black Scarves”. The printing on the scarves was a different colors for each company, they are as follows; HHC, Yellow, Company A, Red, Company B, White, Company C, Blue and Company D, Green. The nickname “Black Scarves” became official January 1968.
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  #5  
Old 05 May 09, 14:16
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I can give more detail on the Black Scarf Battalion later on this afternoon. I was and I'm still a Black Scarf memeber have always been and always will be A Black Scarf.
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  #6  
Old 05 May 09, 14:42
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Boonie, "Pointman" here is my 1/2nd friend - he also came over on the USNS Geiger July 1967. Was assigned to Delta 1/2nd while his very good friend James Snook and myself were assigned to 1/28th Delta.

Luther (aka "Pointman") - glad you came and posted - welcome aboard - stick around and post stuff you have to tell these fine folks.

P.S. Luther - try and get other 1/2nd folks to come aboard also (i.e. Maj Lowery and others).

P.S.S. Luther is also the one that 1st put me in touch with my old troopers which lead to my reunion (I have made Luther an adopted BLACK LION!)




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Old 05 May 09, 15:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointman View Post
I can give more detail on the Black Scarf Battalion later on this afternoon. I was and I'm still a Black Scarf memeber have always been and always will be A Black Scarf.
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Welcome to ACG Luther, KEN's friends are most welcome around here
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Old 05 May 09, 15:41
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Andy_S, I was going to post to this earlier, but got caught up in dragging my son around for a broken down car. SOme points on this "story".

First, neither the ARVNs nor the VC got issued uniforms as we understand it. Generally they got an issue of cloth, which was usually tailored for them, often by relatives, occasionally by a unit tailor. Much of the clothing still worn by Vietnamese peasants is made either at home, or locally. So, the seizure of large quantities of Black cloth destined for uniforms is entirely credible. I have a set of ARVN airborne fatigues of my own which my counterpart gave me. The camp tailor made them up from his issue of camouflage cloth.

Second, the wearing of scarves for ceremonial purposes was a US Army tradition of the period. The colours were generally "branch" (corps or arm) colour, i.e., light blue for infantry, yellow for Armor, red for Artillery, darker red for Engineers. The "Strategic Army Corps" units wore camouflage. Once Vietnam cranked up, some units adopted bandanas for use in the field. These were often Olive Green, Olive Drab, or black. So a battalion commander taking the initiative in this manner is entirely credible. Indeed, it reflects good leadership skills. A small souvenir that binds the soldier to everyone else in his unit at the time. Back in the states, he would have had to bounce that decision at least up to Division level.

Third, in the IV Corps region, the Viet Cong themselves often adopted unit scarves, for pretty much the same reason. These were generally a black, red, or blue checkered pattern, much like the Khmer Rouge "krama", which is widely used by peasants in the Mekong Delta.

Finally, the MIKE Forces in II, III, and IV corps also wore coloured scarves to distinguish the various companies. Nha Trang's Cham company wore a green one with the Saudi sword and arabic writing, befitting Muslims, the II Corps MF companies wore a wide variety of colours, usually reflecting tribal preferences, and the III Corps MF wore a long red, white and blue (almost like the Dutch flag) scarf which represented (I believe) the Khmer Serai, and one of the MFs (either a III Corps company, or IV Corps) wore a Blue bordered Red scarf with the white letters "KKK" (Khmer Kampuchea Krom) on it.

So, unique unit scarves were not uncommon in Vietnam.
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Old 06 May 09, 05:42
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Lirelou:

All good points, I was merely suggesting that it may be an "urban legend" as a number of military traditions are/probably are.

Given the posts and pic above, though, it seems this has a solid basis in fact.

Entirely coincidentally, the POW in the pic appears to be wearing a WHITE scarf...a la Snoopy, in his WWI fighter pilot incarnation.
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Old 06 May 09, 11:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_S View Post
Entirely coincidentally, the POW in the pic appears to be wearing a WHITE scarf...a la Snoopy, in his WWI fighter pilot incarnation.
I think Altus mentioned that it was common practice among NVA soldiers to make scarves using the parachutes from flares.
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Old 06 May 09, 14:10
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As Jensen can easily supply, the camo scarf was a uniform part for the 1/28th and 2/28th "Black Lions".Everyone of us wore them. I believe that the VC even had a "bounty" on them.
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Old 06 May 09, 14:18
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Green scarves

2d Platoon, Company M, 3/5 Marines 1966:

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Old 06 May 09, 14:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomfromfulton View Post
I believe that the VC even had a "bounty" on them.
Seems to be a logical tactic -- take away anything that the enemy 'covets' or holds in high regard.
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Old 06 May 09, 16:37
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Black Scarves in Iraq DEC 2008

"BLACK SCARVES IN IRAQ"



AND OF COURSE WE HAVE THE "BLACK LIONS" ALSO









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Old 06 May 09, 22:54
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RE: Green marine scarves
The black army and white NVA scarves look stylish enough, but I suggest the kinky little ascots worn by the jarheads are less likely to fill the enemy with awe at their esprit than convulse them with laughter at their dismal fashion choice.

Of course I would not dare say that to the faces of the marines in question...
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