Vintage History

The Army Field Jacket as we know it today, has a history dating back to 1941. The M-1941 Field Jacket (also called the Parson’s Jacket) named for it’s designer Major General J.K. Parsons, was not designated as a M-1941 model at the time. The M-1943 model was the first to be named by it’s year of adoption and the M-1941 model was simply known as the OD Field Jacket.

The M-1941 was widely worn during World War II, even to the end when the M-1943 was standard issue. It was considered too light for severe cold conditions and too hot for summer weather, nor did it have good cargo pockets which we know in the latter design. The overall style was like a civilian windbreaker at the time with a Talon Zipper covered by a button fly up the front. The collar and the wrist had button tabs as did the waist. Two large vertical pleats behind the shoulders made it easy to fit. Shoulder epaulettes were added to the second version of the 1941 model.

The Field Jacket M-1943 was an integral part of the combat uniform being developed by the War Department based on the layering principle of give greater flexibility for conditions encountered in the world wide war. At first there were many disagreements regarding the components of the jacket and they only were reconciled in 1944 at which time they began to be widely available to the army in the fall of 1944.

The Jacket, Field M-1943 consisted of an Olive Drab cotton outer shell with layers added inside as more warmth was needed, hence the initials “OD” often used in this jackets’ description.

There was a pile jacket liner for extremely cold areas while the shorter wool jacket, called the “Ike Jacket” was worn in milder temperatures.

In 1950, a modified version of the M-1943 was issued, but the M-1950 was quickly superseded by the M-1951 , another very similar design which now had a zipper instead of buttons under the front fly and metal snap closures for the pockets. The M-1951 was actually fielded after the 1953 armistice so it was not seen in the Korean War, but remained in service until being replaced by the M-1965 , which we know as the Army Field Jacket OD M-65 today.