Headwear of the Vietnam War

Posted by Alex Valli on

Headwear of the Vietnam War

A page dedicated to showcasing our curated archive of Vietnam War-era headwear, encompassing boonies, caps, berets, and helmets. This gallery serves as a freely accessible public resource intended for reference, study, and the preservation of the diverse headgear used during the Vietnam War.

This is a working document, and we will consistently update it with new items as they become available.

To view our full range of available Vietnam headwear for sale, follow this link:

https://omegamilitaria.com/collections/vietnam-accessories

 

Souvenir BDQ Boonie
A beautiful Vietnamese tailor-made boonie hat with added Vietnamese-made patches. Made with a mid-weight cotton sateen printed with ARVN BDQ camo. It features two blackened metal eyelets on either side for ventilation.


Colourway:
ARVN BDQ ERDL

Additions:
Hand-embroidered ‘VIET-NAM’, ‘GO TO HELL’, BEEN TO HELL’ arcs. 
Machine embroidered ‘SOUTH EAST ASIA WAR GAMES PARTICIPANT’ patch.

Added:
02/10/2023

 

CISO JWD Boonie
A typical CISO-procured boonie made in Okinawa, Japan. The hat has been widened with an additional piece of Tigerstripe fabric added to the back. It features a black linen lining and two small metal eyelets on either side. Uniquely to this contract, the metal eyelets do not penetrate the black lining.


Colourway:
John Wayne Dense (JWD)/Classic Pattern Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A

Added:
02/10/2023

 

Shortened Brim CISO JWD Boonie
An early production CISO-produced boonie made in Okinawa. The ‘saw-tooth’ bobbin thread on the underside of the brim is an indication of 1966/67 manufacture. The old machines that were used to make these were not designed to take the heavy-gauge nylon thread used on the brim, additionally, the thick plastic brim lining knocked the head out of alignment causing this unique feature.

The brim has been significantly shortened and acts more as a camouflage headpiece rather than a functional boonie. This hat was likely used by a member of MACV-SOG. It features a black linen lining and two small metal eyelets on either side. Faded with signs of real wear.

Colourway:
John Wayne Dense (JWD)/Classic Pattern Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A

Added:
02/10/2023

 

‘Tan-Son-Nhut’ Parachute Slouch Hat
A beautiful, early Vietnamese-made slouch hat with a press-stud brim. Made entirely from salvaged camouflage parachute silk. It features a chinstrap, restored faux-leather sweatband, and two aluminium eyelets on either side for breathability. Made near or inside Tan-Son-Nhut Airbase in Saigon.


Colourway:
Three-color ‘Spot’ Parachute camouflage

Additions:
Printed ‘VIET-NAM TAN-SON-NHUT’ arc patch

Added:
02/10/2023

 

Chief Warrant Officer ERDL Patrol Cap
A Vietnamese-made patrol cap worn by a CWO-2 as indicated by his rank insignia. There appears to have been some kind of award patch placed above the CWO patch, but it has been removed. The hat is made from USGI ripstop poplin M-1948 (green dominant) ERDL fabric and features a hot-pink silk lining and vinyl sweatband. The underside of the bill is ARVN BDQ fabric. 

Colourway:
M-1948 (green dominant) ERDL & ARVN BDQ

Additions:
Subdued ERDL Vietnamese-made CWO-2 rank patch

Added:
02/10/2023

 

Tailor-Made ERDL Beachball Boonie
A Thai-made beachball style boonie hat with US Air Force & souvenir patches. Made with USGI ripstop poplin M-1948 (green dominant) and NLABS-1 (brown dominant) ERDL. This hat was likely worn by a F-105 Thunderchief pilot. Wild Wesel 3 was a code name given to F-105 aircraft that were equipped with anti-radiation missiles for destroying enemy air defence systems.

Colourway:
M-1948 (green dominant) ERDL & NLABS-1 (brown dominant) ERDL

Additions:
Asian-made machine-embroidered ‘Republic F-105 Thunderchief’ patch. Asian-made machine-embroidered ‘Wild Wesel 3’ patch. Asian-made hand-embroidered ‘SEA WARGAMES PARTICIPANT’ patch.

Added:
02/10/2023

 

HAT, CAMOUFLAGE, TROPICAL COMBAT, TYPE II
A standard US-issue ERDL camouflage boonie hat. Part of the Tropical Combat Uniform. The brim has been shortened by a tailor and the hat shows signs of real wear. Made from a Quarpel (Quartermaster developed water repellent) treated 6-ounce rip-stop cotton poplin fabric. It features a nylon herringbone foliage band, nylon chinstrap with rectangle leather stopper and two mesh screen vent holes on either side for ventilation.

Colourway:
M-1948 (green dominant) ERDL

Additions:
N/A

Added:
04/10/2023

 

Vietnamese Tailor-Made TDS Tigerstripe Boonie
A beautiful Vietnamese-made boonie with a tall, almost fedora-like profile and a short brim. This hat is made from three stocks of Tadpole Sparse (TDS) Tigerstripe fabric. The crown has darker black shapes whereas the other panels on the top of the boonie have faded to purple.



Colourway:
Tadpole Sparse (TDS)

Additions:
N/A

Added:
04/10/2023

 

Taiwanese Tailor-Made JWD Tigerstripe Field Cap
A stunning Taiwanese-made field cap made with ‘John Wayne Dense’ (JWD) tigerstripe printed on a mid-weight fabric. It features two metal eyelets on either side for ventilation, and a purple nylon panel under the bill. Taiwan was a popular R&R destination for US troops and various souvenir items were available to purchase there including hats, jackets, other types of clothing, etc.



Colourway:
John Wayne Dense (JWD)/Classic Pattern Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A

Added:
04/10/2023

 

 

Vietnamese Tailor-Made Lightweight JWD Tigerstripe Field Cap
A Vietnamese-made field cap printed with ‘John Wayne Dense’ (JWD) Tigerstripe on a lightweight fabric. It displays the iconic 'three-branch' shape on the top of the bill. The sweatband is made from a black linen fabric.


Colourway:
John Wayne Dense (JWD)/Classic Pattern Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A

Added:
04/10/2023

 

 

Graffitied Vietnamese Tailor-Made Boonie
A typical late-war tailor-made boonie hat with personalization. The graffiti written in pen includes the original owner’s name (Ken), home town (New York), the year the hat was worn (‘71), the words ‘Vietnam Sucks’, and Sergeant rank chevrons that have been covered by a pin-on badge. This hat is believe to come from the estate of a 101st Airborne Division veteran and includes a US-made subdued merrowed edge ‘Airborne’ tab above the rank insignia. A small cut section of surgical tubing is used as a stopper for the chinstrap.

Colourway:
Green/brown

Additions:
US-made subdued merrowed edge ‘Airborne’ tab. Pin-on Sergeant rank badge. 

Added:
04/10/2023

 

Late-War Souvenir ‘Hippy’ Boonie
A highly personalized Vietnamese tailor-made boonie hat with anti-war pins, patches and embroidery. This hat was worn by a member of the 1st Aviation Brigade who served two tours, firstly in Bien Hoa, Vietnam where this hat was made, and a second tour in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand where the embroidery was added. The embroidery on the rear is a quote from Jimmy Hendrix which reads ‘When the power of love is greater than the love of power, we will have peace’. The hat is made from USGI ripstop OG-107 poplin and features two steel eyelets on either side. It has been heavily worn and may have also been worn post-war during protests, etc. as indicated by the ‘Vietnam Veterans Against the War’ pin. The pins are made in Vietnam with recycled drink cans and are often referred to as ‘beer can’ pins/DIs. A small cut section of surgical tubing is used as a stopper for the chinstrap.



Colourway:
OG-107

Additions:
Large Asian-made ‘Smiley’ patch. Vietnamese-made beer can ‘LIFES A BITCH’ Snoopy pin. Vietnamese-made beer can US flag peace sign pin. Vietnamese-made beer can SVN flag pin. Vietnamese-made beer can ‘VIET CONG HUNTING CLUB’ pin. Vietnamese-made beer can ‘SOUTH EAST ASIA WAR GAMES PARTICIPANT’ pin. Vietnamese-made beer can 1st Aviation Brigade ‘VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR’ pin. Vietnamese-made machine-embroidered ‘VIETNAM BIEN HOA’ patch.

Added:
04/10/2023

 

HAT & INSECT NET, COTTON OXFORD OG-107
DSA-100-68-C-1208
FSN: 8415-935-2891

A standard issue boonie hat made from an OG-107 Oxford cotton cloth - issued as part of the Tropical Combat Uniform. These hats were issued with a head net, designed to be worn under the hat for protection against mosquitoes and other flying insects. It has a nylon herringbone foliage band, two metal mesh screen eyelets on either side for ventilation, and a nylon lace chinstrap with a rectangular leather stopper. Made by the ‘International Hat Co.’, this example came from a 1968 contract.

Colourway:
OG-107

Additions:
N/A

Added:
08/10/2023

 

HAT JUNGLE WITH INSECT NET
DSA-100-68-C-2764
FSN: 8415-935-2891

A standard issue boonie hat made from an OG-107 ripstop cotton poplin - issued as part of the Tropical Combat Uniform. These hats were issued with a head net, designed to be worn under the hat for protection against mosquitoes and other flying insects. It has a nylon herringbone foliage band, two metal mesh screen eyelets on either side for ventilation, and a nylon lace chinstrap with a rectangular leather stopper. Made by the ‘Society Brand Hat Co.’, this example came from a 1968 contract.

Colourway:
OG-107

Additions:

N/A

Added:
08/10/2023

 

HAT, JUNGLE, W/ HEADNET
DSA-100-67-C-4453
FSN: 8415-935-2892

A standard issue boonie hat made from an OG-107 Oxford cotton cloth - issued as part of the Tropical Combat Uniform. These hats were issued with a head net, designed to be worn under the hat for protection against mosquitoes and other flying insects. It has a nylon herringbone foliage band, two metal mesh screen eyelets on either side for ventilation, and a nylon lace chinstrap with a rectangular leather stopper. Made by the ‘International Hat Co.’, this example came from a 1967 contract. Originally worn by a member of the 18th Military Police Brigade, it has custom tailor-made embroidery denoting the years he served in-country (1968-1969), a Vietnamese-made 18th MP patch on the crown, a leather cord woven around the foliage band, and various pin-on unit distinctive insignias (DIs).

Colourway:
OG-107

Additions:
Vietnamese-tailor made direct embroidery ‘VIET-NAM’ and ‘68-69’. Vietnamese-made full colour, fully embroidered 18th Military Police Brigade patch. Various pin-on DIs from units that served in Vietnam. A leather cord.

Added:
08/10/2023

 

USMC Okinawa Camouflage Poncho Boonie

An early-war USMC boonie made from reversible M1942 ‘Frogskin’ camouflage poncho material in Okinawa, Japan. These were typically worn by USMC advisors to South Vietnamese forces during the advisory period of the Vietnam War. Made from a WW2 vintage poncho, these hats are entirely waterproof which makes for an ideal item of headwear for the tropics of Vietnam. This example retains its original white cotton size label and a beautiful screw-back EGA. The hat features two small grey-painted metal eyelets on either side for ventilation.

Colourway:
M1942 Spot camouflage ‘Frogskin’

Additions:
Metal screwback USMC ‘Eagle, Globe, and Anchor’ (EGA).

Added:
08/10/2023

 

Vietnamese Tailor-Made Tigerstripe Patchwork Boonie

A stunning Vietnamese-made boonie hat made from scraps of Tigerstripe fabric. This hat has been heavily worn and shows signs of real wear. It is made with a locally-produced Tigerstripe pattern printed on a mid-weight cotton twill fabric. It is fully lined with recycled hessian cloth and US-issue parachute silk. A Vietnamese-made ‘beer can’ SP4 Specialist rank insignia is pinned to the front.

Colourway:
Local Tigerstripe

Additions:
Vietnamese-made ‘beercan’ SP4 specialist rank pin.

Added:
08/10/2023

 

 

Vietnamese Tailor-Made Tigerstripe Patchwork Boonie

A Vietnamese-made boonie hat made from scraps of Tigerstripe fabric. This hat has been heavily worn and shows signs of real wear. It is made with a locally-produced Tigerstripe pattern printed on a mid-weight cotton twill fabric. It is fully lined with recycled hessian cloth.

Colourway:
Local Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A

Added:
22/10/2023

 

Vietnamese-Made US Navy Sateen 8-Point Cover

A nicely worn Vietnamese tailor-made 8-point cover. This style of hat was worn by the US Navy and US Marine Corps. Made from USGI OG-107 sateen cloth, the same material as the standard utility uniform. It is named with the original owners initials ‘G F’ under the crown. Note the misalignment of the bill with the front panel of the hat.

Colourway:
OG-107


Additions:
N/A

Added:
22/10/2023

 

Shortened Brim CISO JWD Boonie
A CISO-procured boonie made in Okinawa, Japan. The exterior panels are made from a mid-weight cotton twill fabric and the lining is made from a lighter-weight cotton material. The brim has been significantly shortened and the hat functions more as a camouflage headpiece rather than a practical sun hat. Vietnamese-made embroidery on the front and back reads ‘AMIGO’ and ‘VIETNAM’. The exterior of the hat exhibits signs of real wear and sun bleaching which contrasts beautifully with the well-preserved colours on the underside.

Colourway:
John Wayne Dense (JWD)/Classic Pattern Tigerstripe

Additions:
Vietnamese tailor-made ‘AMIGO’ and ‘VIETNAM’ direct-embroidery.

Added:

22/10/2023

 

Pacific Air Forces Duck Hunter Cowboy / Slouch Hat

A truly lovely slouch hat made with a locally-printed duck hunter pattern. It has a typical construction with a wide brim and depressed crown. It features two large mesh eyelets on either side for ventilation, a chinstrap, and a vinyl sweatband. On the front are two locally-made ‘beer-can’ DIs that pertain to US Pacific Air Forces and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (Không lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa).

Colourway:
Local Duck Hunter

Additions:
Vietnamese-Made ‘Pacific Air Forces’ beer can DI pin. Vietnamese-Made ‘Không lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa’ beer can DI pin.

Added:
02/10/2023

 

US-Made OG-107 Poplin Boonie Hat
A magnificent poplin boonie hat with direct embroidery. Worn by a recon team member as indicated by the wording on the brim which reads ‘VIET-NAM’, ‘RECON’, and ‘CAMBODIA’. It has signs of real wear. A portion of the nylon foliage band has melted due to direct contact with a heated object - hats and other accessible items of clothing and equipment were sometimes used to change hot M60 barrels.

Colourway:
OG-107

Additions:
Vietnamese-made direct-embroidery that reads ‘VIET-NAM’, ‘RECON’, ‘CAMBODIA’.

Added:

02/10/2023

 

Thai Tailor-Made ‘RED HORSE’ Cowboy Hat

A Thai-made slouch/cowboy hat. This hat was worn by a member of 556th Civil Engineer Squadron, RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer). Based in U-Tapao Air Base, Thailand between 1966 - 1969. The hat is made from a lightweight ripstop nylon material featuring cotton seteen trim, a vinyl sweatband and two mesh screen eyelets on either side of the crown for ventilation.

Colourway:
OD Green

Additions:
Thai-made patches that read ‘RED HORSE’, ‘RED HORSE THAILAND’, ‘556 C.E. SQ RED HORSE’. US-made Meyer Inc. Red Horse DI pin. 

Added:
03/11/2023

 

Special Forces Green Beret

A typical Special Forces green beret made from wool. Most of the black cotton lining and labels have been removed. It displays a US-made cut edge 5th Special Forces Group Flash and an enamelled ‘De Oppresso Liber’ Unit Crest DI attached to the front. It has a leather sweatband, adjustable with a nylon string that exits through the rear of the beret. There are two eyelets on right side for ventilation and a cardboard panel under the flash to keep a prominent, upright shape.

Colourway:
Rifle Green Army shade 297

Additions:

5th Special Forces Group flash patch. Pin-on Special Forces ‘De Oppresso Liber’ DI.

Added:
03/11/2023

 

‘Snoopy’ BDQ ERDL Cowboy Hat

A Thai-made cowboy hat made in or near U-Tapoa Air Base, Thailand. This hat was likely purchased by a US airman stationed there. Made from a locally-produced cotton sateen fabric printed with ARVN BDQ ERDL camouflage pattern. It has a red lining with black vinyl trim and a black vinyl sweatband. There are two rectangular eyelets on either side for ventilation, a nylon rope chinstrap and a snap-up brim. The Snoopy patch on the front and the two arc patches on either side are Thai-made. 

Colourway:
ARVN BDQ ERDL Camouflage

Additions:

Large Snoopy pilot patch. ‘U-TAPAO’ arc patch. ‘THAILAND’ arc patch.

Added:
03/11/2023

 

‘Playboy’ TDS Tigerstripe Boonie Hat

A stunning boonie hat with original patches. Worn by a member of the 1st Flight Platoon Guns ‘Playboys’, 334th Aerial Weapons Company. Activated in Okinawa, Japan on 25th July 1962 as the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company (UTT), they were the US Army’s first Armed Helicopter Company. Redesignated as the 68th Aviation Company in August 1964, then the 197th Armed Helicopter Company on 1st March 1965 (the first Armed Helicopter Company to deployed to the Vietnam), and finally, the 334th Aerial Weapons Company. The 334th flew Huey and Cobra Gunships as part of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Group.

The hat features a Playboys red beret flash insignia on the front with a ‘SORRY ABOUT THAT’ arc patch above, and a novelty “33” Export beer logo patch on the side. All the patches are Vietnamese-made hand-embroidered. Additionally, a fishing lure has been hooked through the top of the Playboy patch. 

Colourway:
Tadpole Sparse (TDS) Tigerstripe

Additions:

Vietnamese-made hand-embroidered PLAYBOY’ red beret flash patch. Vietnamese-made hand-embroidered ‘SORRY ABOUT THAT’ arc patch. Vietnamese-made hand-embroidered “33” Export beer logo patch.

Added:
03/11/2023

 

Black Vietnamese-Made Vạn-Thành Tailor-Made Beret

A lovely black wool beret made by Vạn-Thành Tailors, Saigon. It displays a woven ‘VIET-NAM’ arc patch. Attached to the black silk lining is a typical foil tailor shop label and size label under clear plastic. The beret features a black vinyl sweatband, adjustable with a thin nylon lace. 

Colourway:
Black

Additions:
Woven ‘VIET-NAM’ arc patch.


Added:
03/11/2023

 

‘Snooze Ya Loose’ Tailor Shop VNMC Tigerstripe Boonie
An incredibly striking tailor-made Tigerstripe boonie made with a locally-produced copy of the VNMC ‘Sea Wave’ Tigerstripe pattern. It displays tailor-made direct embroidery on the crown that reads ‘SNOOZE YA LOOSE’, around the brim that reads ‘LOUIE’, and other text on the brim that is illegible.

Colourway:
Tailor shop copy VNMC ‘Sea Wave’ Tigerstripe

Additions:

Tailor-made direct embroidery: ‘SNOOZE YA LOOZE’, ‘LOUIE’.

Added:
07/11/2023

 

Thai Tailor-Made Tigerstripe Beachball Boonie
A typical Thai-made beachball style boonie hat printed with Thai Tadpole Sparse (TTS) Tigerstripe. The crown is made from 6 triangular panels that meet in the centre, similar to the construction of half a beachball.

Colourway:
Thai Tadpole Sparse (TTS) Tigerstripe

Additions:

N/A

Added:
07/11/2023

 

‘Butch’ Thai Tailor-Made Cowboy Hat
A Thai-made slouch/cowboy hat with a double-sided snap-up brim. The hat displays an original printed ‘THAILAND’ rocker patch on the left side and a custom tailor-made name tape that reads ‘BUTCH’ on the front. There is pen-drawn graffiti on the crown and on the left side of the brim showing a Star of David and a peace symbol respectively. It has a hot pink vinyl sweatband and an orange lining. There is more writing in pen on the inside, but it is mostly illegible. There are two mesh screen eyelets on either side for ventilation.

Colourway:
Brown

Additions:

Printed ‘THAILAND’ rocker patch. Tailor-made machine embroidered ‘BUTCH’ name tape. Pen-drawn graffiti.

Added:
07/11/2023

 

TO79 Tigerstripe Boonie

A typical TO79 tigerstripe boonie. These hats were made under contracts that were awarded to manufacturers in Japan and Taiwan. Stamped inside with the size (in this case A-L (Asian-Large)) and ‘TO79’. The pattern is known to collectors as ‘Tadpole Dense’ (TDD). It has a 2 ¼ inch brim and two steel eyelets on either side of the crown for ventilation. These are made with a black faux-silk lining that lines the circumference of the inside, but it has been removed in this example. 

Colourway:
Tadpole Dense (TDD) Tigerstripe

Additions:
N/A


Added:
15/11/2023

 

Vietnamese-Made Cowboy Hat

A lovely tailor-made cowboy/slouch hat made in a typical fashion. It has a vinyl sweatband, two large metal mesh screen eyelets on either side for ventilation, and a chin strap made from the same cloth as the rest of the hat. The chin strap is fastened with a small piece of recycled surgical tubing. It displays a lovely woven ‘VIET-NAM’ rocker patch on the left side of the brim.

Colourway:
Brown

Additions:
Vietnamese-made woven ‘VIET-NAM’ rocker tab

Added:
15/11/2023

 

VNMC ‘Seawave’ Tigerstripe Boonie

A beautiful Vietnamese tailor-made VNMC ‘Seawave’ tigerstripe boonie made with a lightweight fabric. The underside of the brim is made from a locally-produced copy of the Seawave tiger pattern as seen on another boonie that we showed previously. The foliage band is made from the edges of the selvedge fabric. The back of the crown has been tightened by folding and hemming the fabric. There are two metal eyelets on either side for ventilation. 

Colourway:
VNMC ‘Seawave Tigerstripe

Additions:

N/A

Added:
15/11/2023

 

Thanks goes to all who have contributed to this article:
Guy, Brightlight Collection
Jack Ewing, Paladin Patches
Patrick Zirngibl
Mateusz Całka
Shane Low

 

 

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2 comments


  • Real interesting read. This is a great collection! thank you for publishing.

    Paul on

  • Great idea you have come up with. Really helpful to get a good reference comparison.

    Jono on

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