USMC Alpaca Vest

Winter is (slowly) coming, time for a post about Korean War cold weather gear šŸ™‚

There seems to be a lot of incorrect info about these vests out there. “Tanker Vest”,”Paramarine Vest”, “USAAF Flyers Vest”… of course the Air Force / Flight Jacket connection makes them easier to sell šŸ˜‰


In Korea they were issued to Marines and saw widespread use. Being comfortable and offering an additional layer of protection against the harsh Korean climate the vests were well liked. There seem to be at least two versions of these vests, one without any markings and one with a “DEMOTEX-ED” label (“Demotex” was an anti moth process and not the maker of the vests) . The “Demotex” vests also have slits on the bottom of the side seams.

A few pics from my “Demotex” vest. DEMOTEX-ED label and size tag




Talon zipper


Check out the UNIS on the back! šŸ™‚


Mosten often the vests were worn underneath field jackets and parkas, but with a bit of effort you can find many photos showing them in use. Here are some:






~ by m1pencil on September 26, 2015.

16 Responses to “USMC Alpaca Vest”

  1. Thanks for the research. I wonder if these were also issued to Navy personnel or exclusively to the Marines, as this vest is being reproduced and sold by Real McCoys as a Navy issue item. RM doesn’t seem to have enough info to identify this piece of garment, though.

    • Hi Ben,

      It is possible that these vests were issue to Navy personnel as well.
      The McCoy’s vest does have pockets though, not sure if this was done to make it better suited for “daily life” or if it is based on a different (Navy style?) vest?
      Too bad there are no maker marks in original vests making research very difficult. It seems “China Marines” in the late 40s also had those vests as did Marines on occupation duty in Japan.

  2. So unrelated but came across this tonight. Seems to be free pdf copies of these titles. Although seeing your expertise probably isn’t news to you, ha

    • Thanks for the link!!! šŸ˜€

      • No problem, Been reading the one about the Royal Marine Commando (the Train Wrecker one) would be an easy impression. basically a US rilfeman with a Beret (and maybe sock? hard to tell in some of the photos). Just something different. Keep up the good work, wish our fields weren’t so far apart.

  3. Hello, I have seen you do some comparisons, I was just wondering if you can do some comparisons between the different kind of helmet covers that companies make?

  4. Yes, just like you did with the p42 jackets and p41 jackets…

  5. Is that a German P38 pistol tucked into the officer’s belt/waistline in B&W photo #3?

    • I just assumed it to be some Chinese / Soviet pistol and never gave it a closer look. But it does look like a P38! Weird!

      Here is another pic of it:

  6. These vests were indeed issued to both Marines and supporting Naval troops. They were introduced some time before the end of WWII. I was lucky enough to inherit one such vest and a photo album from the first month of occupation. A number of servicemen (Nav./Mar.) photographed are wearing the vest in circa Oct. 1945 Nagasaki.
    The collection was inherited from my grandfather, who served as a Fleet Marine Corpsman (USNR) during WWII and Korea, and as USMCR between wars.

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