The shemagh is a traditional middle eastern headwear scarf that is usually made from cotton. However, wool blends are very popular as well. Most of the shemaghs purchased at army navy stores, like Omahas Surplus, are made of cotton and come in a variety of colors. You can buy these scarves here at Omahas and they usually feature 2 colors that can serve to have meaning as well as provide a certain amount of camouflage.
The shemagh has also become quite the fashion accessory, especially among hipsters and college students. While some may also see it as popular headdress among terrorists, our soldiers have adopted them since Vietnam because of the practicality in the field of battle. The loose woven cotton provides superb airflow and ventilation while at the same time keeping out the sand and uv rays from the sun.
The vibrant color schemes and designs that are woven into the shemagh scarves are often associated with different tribal origins from the middle east. For example, red/white pattern is most often associated with Jordanians. Solid white is traditionally Saudi.
The use of jungle boots in the military predates World War 2 where small units in Panama were given these to experiment with a boot that would protect their soldiers from the harmful effects of wet feet. The concept was not to keep the water out of the boot. That was impossible without wearing rubber. Rubber boots in a hot humid environment would not have been a good solution. The lightweight canvas upper and leather lower design that the military came up with included water drain holes in the instep to let water flow through. Along with a Saran mesh insole, the idea was to keep the wearer’s foot up off of the sole so that air could be exchanged with water through the drain holes. The drain holes featured a screen in order to keep the bugs out. Also, there was a stainless-steel plate inside the sole to keep out the “punji” stakes that were hidden in booby traps by the “VC”
By the time we were involved in Vietnam, several modifications and improvements were made to the boots. Most noticeably was the introduction of the “Panama” sole. This sole was designed to throw-off mud quicker. The jungle boot continued to be used throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. Some Marines even used the boot into the 1990’s. The green jungle boots were used in Desert Storm as well until the Type 1 Desert boot came along.
We happened across an incredibly large stockpile of the cotton canvas khaki leggings many years ago and bought them all.
Sizes available are 1 or 3. We at first thought that 3 was rather small and size 1 even smaller. However, that was before we realized that you do not wear them over an existing boot. Rather they become a way of turning a high-top leather shoe into a make-shift boot.
Made of durable canvas, the leg protectors offer guard against bugs, plants, rough terrain, snakes, and other annoying critters that can leave a soldier stranded with a foot or leg injury.
Dawning the leggings can seem quite daunting if you haven’t seen the procedure before. First, you lace the string back and through all the holes on one side of the spat. Tying the top and bottom off and leaving enough slack to pull each spaced string across the opposite hook on the other side of the leggings. In this way you can take them off and put them back on easily without having to pull the strings out of the holes like you would with a traditional shoe or boot.
For the WW1 or WW2 reenactor the legging is one of the iconic clues to the time period of an army ground troops uniform and is recognized the world over as classic to the look of a doughboy or WW2 soldier.