North Vietnamese Army Viet Cong Boonie Hat Short Brim Khaki Brown
Both the NVA and VC wore boonie hats.
They came in short brim and wide brim and in various colors and fabrics.
Wartime issue boonie hats, like most items worn and carried by the NVA, were made in the PRC to Hanoi’s specification. The PLA seldom wore boonie hats.
PLASTICIZED INNER LINING
Wartime PRC made boonie hats can be distinguished from other boonie hats where they have a thin piece of soft plasticized material in between the inner lining and outer lining of the hat. You can hear the material if you crinkle the hat. This material was intended to have kept the wearer’s head dry. I suspect that it actually prevented heat from escaping the head while on the march. On the other hand, Viet Cong made boonie hats did not have the plasticized fabric between the interior and exterior.
This plasticized fabric was sewn between layers of the brim too.
The colors of the PRC boonie hat paralleled the colors of the PRC made-for-Hanoi uniforms. They, like uniforms, were made in lighter hues in the early years. These included khaki, lime green, gray green, various shades of grey etc. As this older surplus fabric was used up in the PRC, the colors got darker and darker finally settling on reed green. Fabric seen is mostly twill, the same as uniform fabric. However, cotton poplin and even very thin canvas has been seen.
PRC made-for-Hanoi boonie hats had six triangular shaped panels sewn together to form the outside crown. The interior was a mirror image. Occasionally scraps from various production runs were used to make the interior lining. As a result one can find different shades of fabric on the inside of the boonie. One can also see where one or two of the six inner panels were actually stitched together from scraps.
The brim of these boonie hats were comprised of many rows of perfectly parallel rows of sprial stitching. VC made boonie hats are not quite perfect in this regard.
These boonie hats did not have cloth labels inside. Instead, if marked at all, they might have size 1, 2 or 3, multi digit production numbers or two digit size markings.
CHINSTRAPS AND GROMMETS
When they left the factory, these boonie hats had a chinstrap of matching color.
The earlier boonie hats had two aluminum grommets on each side. On one side of the short boonie you will find three parallel stitch marks at oblique angle which resemble the gills on a fish. This will be found on the horizontal band between the brim and the crown. This is a sign of a real boonie hat. The later wide brim boonie do not always have this mark. Later wide brim boonie hats have three aluminum or three painted grommets.
Some NVA and VC boonie hats have salvaged parachute material sewn to the the exterior crown to break up the silhouette of the boonie. This was done by the wearer not at a factory.
POST 1975 WEAR OF BOONIE HATS
Following the Fall of Saigon the boonie hat does not appear to have been worn much by the SRV’s Army. The field cap and sun helmet appear to be standard daily wear.
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