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  #1  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:02 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Chin straps worn over the face in military dress parades - why?

Just whose idea was it that this looked good?

To me, it looks totally awkward and weird. It also looks non-uniform, since the chin strap seems to fall at a different place on each man's face - some right over the lips, some above it, some below it. Whereas actually strapping the chin strap under the chin would ensure that every man looked identical.

Why on earth do they wear their caps this way? Where did the style originate?
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:28 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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IMO this has never made any sense to me either - and it looks stupid.

Maybe they are mouth guards designed to look like chin straps.

Or it gives them something to chew on.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:30 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Well, they have to do something with the straps.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:36 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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They're not chin straps at all. Got everybody fooled. They're actually gags. They must have once had a problem with chatty soldiers on parade, and this was the solution. Either that or it's to stop them from snacking while marching.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2011, 09:03 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Pfft. You wanna cool hat, you join the Pakistan Border Guards regiment: http://images.travelpod.com/users/fi...rder-guard.jpg
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2011, 09:20 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Why Is The USMA Big on Napoleonic Era Uniforms?

I mean, it isn't as if there are not nicer periods/styles to choose from. Those "tarbucket"helmets must be a PIA to wear-why doen't West Point change to civil war-type uniforms? Blue tunics and stetson hats-thats a cool look-and no white pants to get grass stains on.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2011, 09:43 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Total WAG - if such headgear was ever actually worn in battle when hand to hand combat was common, you needed the strap to keep the thing on your head, but you didn't want to get strangled by it if somebody grabbed the hat. Possibly a fact discovered by the soldiers, and they improvised.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2011, 11:21 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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It's not just the Yanks; the Brits in their ceremonial gear do the same.

Here are the Welsh Guards: http://www.trooping-the-colour.co.uk/gsm/mottsalute.jpg

Coldstream Guards: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/...7-_640629a.jpg

Irish Guards: http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image..._mexico3pa.jpg

This guard at the Elysee Palace in Paris seems to have the right idea, though: http://k53.pbase.com/g1/61/669061/2/...4.Nrf0ADZc.jpg

As do these guys: http://cache1.asset-cache.net/xc/755...16F959F7243E3E

And this guy in Stockholm: http://www.realworldimage.com/images...avel_12911.jpg

Likewise in Oslo: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_M5mQhY1Rgc...lace,_Oslo.jpg
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2011, 11:34 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Pfft. You wanna cool hat, you join the Pakistan Border Guards regiment: http://images.travelpod.com/users/fi...rder-guard.jpg
Well, since they strut like roosters in their border closing ceremonies, that particular headgear is decidedly appropriate!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm7Lu...eature=related

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  #10  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:22 PM
Son of a Rich Son of a Rich is offline
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Military costumes rarely make sense. I was one of the last draftees, and even tho I was only going to be active for 2 years, they loaded me down with a huge duffle bag containing a wide variety of uniforms and their stupid headgear- including the round dress hat that makes you look like a bus driver and a couple of the soft cloth caps that, from the front, makes it look like you have a pointed head.
I got nothing against Marines, but I have to wonder about the guy who designed their dress uniform with the gold buttons and white gloves.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:29 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Originally Posted by Son of a Rich View Post
a couple of the soft cloth caps that, from the front, makes it look like you have a pointed head.
My grandpa always called that kind of cap an "overseas cap." But I've read about guys calling them "cunt caps", presumably because of the slit-like shape of the top.

The round dress hat you're talking about, I think, is called a "saucer cap." I'm sure there's a more official name for it too.

What's so bad about the Marines' dress uniform? I think it looks good. Is it the combination of white and gold that you object to?
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:39 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Now that is one happenin' hat.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2011, 01:13 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Seriously, the Marines are the snazziest dressers we have in the US!
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  #14  
Old 02-07-2011, 02:05 PM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Seriously, the Marines are the snazziest dressers we have in the US!
The white belt SUCKS, though!
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  #15  
Old 02-07-2011, 02:06 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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So does the regulation haircut and facial expression which makes them look like lobotomized kill-bots.
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  #16  
Old 02-07-2011, 03:01 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Seriously, the Marines are the snazziest dressers we have in the US!
I agree. I think the Marine summer uniform, with the white pants (AND the white belts!), is the best-looking in the entire U.S. military: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3198/...d6c7fb3d2a.jpg

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02-07-2011 at 03:02 PM..
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2011, 03:15 PM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Girls like uniforms and, like other fashions, a lot of the stuff has evolved to the point that it no longer serves any purpose. Neck ties? High healed shoes?

Chin straps always look stupid on an adult when worn correctly. So ..... functional and safety conscience. My guess is, some fop in the past worn it this way and the girls went wild - next thing you know, everybody's doing it that way.
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2011, 05:17 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
Well, since they strut like roosters in their border closing ceremonies, that particular headgear is decidedly appropriate!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm7Lu...eature=related

Now I know where Monty Python got their Department of Silly Walks skit idea.
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2011, 07:38 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
Why on earth do they wear their caps this way? Where did the style originate?
I would've guessed it's because the hats are one size fits all, heads are bigger nowadays, and the chin strip won't fit under the chin for most people, so instead of having half the people with a chin strap correctly fitted, and the other half having it wrong, everyone is instructed to have it wrong.
But that's just a totally random uneducated guess.
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  #20  
Old 02-07-2011, 07:46 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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The chin strap in the photo in the OP looks adjustable. So it should be possible to adjust it to actually fit under the chin. And I can't imagine that the military would just say, "Screw it. The chin straps don't fit. We'll just have them wear them under their lips." I think the military would arrange for correctly fitting straps. So I assume that this is how it's supposed to be worn.
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  #21  
Old 02-07-2011, 07:54 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Since everyone in the photo is wearing it that way, we can assume that that is how the chin strap should be worn. But why?
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  #22  
Old 02-07-2011, 08:31 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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This has happened before, and it happened again. Curiosity got the better of me and I googled "military chin straps not under chin". This thread was the first hit.
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2011, 10:24 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I mean, it isn't as if there are not nicer periods/styles to choose from. Those "tarbucket"helmets must be a PIA to wear-why doen't West Point change to civil war-type uniforms? Blue tunics and stetson hats-thats a cool look-and no white pants to get grass stains on.
I'd honestly be surprised if the uniforms worn by the Westpoint cadets were ever actually worn by the US military as a whole. I always assumed it was some specific uniform to the Corps of Cadets there (similar to how the cadets at Texas A&M wear their uniforms that come in either the regular tan color scehme or the green-and-dark-pink "Midnight" color scheme.
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  #24  
Old 02-07-2011, 10:37 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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The photo is not USMA, but the Citadel cadets on parade, not associated with the US Military in any real sense. Many cadets are on ROTC scholarship, but the parade uniform symbolizes a dress uniform of an era long past.
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  #25  
Old 02-07-2011, 10:41 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I agree. I think the Marine summer uniform, with the white pants (AND the white belts!), is the best-looking in the entire U.S. military: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3198/...d6c7fb3d2a.jpg
Are those M-1 Garands?
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  #26  
Old 02-08-2011, 02:36 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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They are 1903 Springfield rifles, the old-style version without the half-pistol grip stock.
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  #27  
Old 02-08-2011, 05:48 AM
sparky! sparky! is offline
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Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
They are 1903 Springfield rifles, the old-style version without the half-pistol grip stock.
You sure? Note what looks like the gas return under the barrel. Also, I don't see the rear bolt protrusion. Pretty sure they're Garands.
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  #28  
Old 02-08-2011, 05:51 AM
sparky! sparky! is offline
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My WAG is that it adds a bit more uniformity to the group by obstructing a portion of the face.
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2011, 06:20 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Pfft. You wanna cool hat, you join the Pakistan Border Guards regiment: http://images.travelpod.com/users/fi...rder-guard.jpg
Only, he's from the Indian side.
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  #30  
Old 02-08-2011, 06:38 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Perhaps those straps originated in times when military personnel had major beards and moustaches and that had something to do with it? Total WAG, but if you have a beard, a chin strap lifts up the beard and makes it poke out like a bushy ponytail. Looks ridiculous.

Last edited by Maastricht; 02-08-2011 at 06:39 AM..
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  #31  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:49 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Originally Posted by Floater View Post
Only, he's from the Indian side.
Sorry. Google Images, and the photo caption, said he was Pakistani.
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  #32  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:52 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
The round dress hat you're talking about, I think, is called a "saucer cap." I'm sure there's a more official name for it too.
A peaked cap, forage cap or combination cap.

The overseas cap is also known as the garrison cap.
Quote:
A garrison cap (in the United States), field service or wedge cap (in Canada), or forage cap (in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries) is a foldable military cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown sloping to the back where it is parted.
Quote:
Other terms for this cap in semi-official and or slang usage include garrison cover, flight cap, side cap, overseas cap, envelope hat, piss-cutter cap, chip hat, and cunt cap.
The Citadel and USMA parade uniforms are based on the hussar uniforms of the early 19th Century. The Texas A&M uniforms are based on the US Army uniforms of the 1940s.

Beards and mustaches went in and out of fashion several times during the 19th Century. Maastricht's idea makes sense to me.
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  #33  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:56 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Originally Posted by UncleBill View Post
The photo is not USMA, but the Citadel cadets on parade, not associated with the US Military in any real sense. Many cadets are on ROTC scholarship, but the parade uniform symbolizes a dress uniform of an era long past.
I think you're right. I hadn't looked closely at the plates on the shakos (hats), or at the background (those castle-like buildings), but it does look like The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.

Here are some West Point pics; note that the design of the gold-colored plate on the shako is different from The Citadel's:

http://www.overlookonhudson.com/wp-c...05/splash2.jpg
http://cache1.asset-cache.net/xc/112...0A760B0D811297
http://image.shutterstock.com/displa...ion-450983.jpg

However, they're also wearing the chin strap the same way as in the photo provided by the OP.
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  #34  
Old 02-08-2011, 09:17 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Here's a picture of a soldier with a goatee and an strap under his chin. As you see, no problem.

Here are some modern soldiers from an army that apparently allows moustaches and maybe beards. They have the modern versions of over chin straps.

Here are some 19 th century soldiers (French infanty) with big beards. I guess they would have worn under lip -straps when not in battle.

So I'm convinced it's beards.
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  #35  
Old 02-08-2011, 11:54 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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I think you're right. I hadn't looked closely at the plates on the shakos (hats)
I always thought shakos were taller.
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  #36  
Old 02-08-2011, 03:21 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
I always thought shakos were taller.
Not necessarily: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shako
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  #37  
Old 02-08-2011, 03:27 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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You sure? Note what looks like the gas return under the barrel. Also, I don't see the rear bolt protrusion. Pretty sure they're Garands.
OK, I only glanced at the picture before. But now I've been studying it intensely.

Yes, it is indeed an M1 Garand. But the stock is like no Garand I've seen. The "pistol grip" portion has been sanded down and the overall shape of the butt has been altered to look like an old-fashioned M1903. This must be a special kind of Garand used for Marine Corps drill teams.

This photo shows the same kind of rifle.
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  #38  
Old 02-08-2011, 04:10 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
The "pistol grip" portion has been sanded down and the overall shape of the butt has been altered to look like an old-fashioned M1903.
Indeed. I just looked at the barrel and receiver in the first picture.
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  #39  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:56 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Shakos can be many different heights and even differing widths or angles.

I note that the French wear the chin straps under the chin (maybe the other is really a lip strap?). Since the French know do fashion so well, I can only assume the correct way to wear the strap is under the chin.

Interestingly, a neighbor of mine is a military history buff, and he couldn't explain the chin strap issue when I put it to him. I think he was all set to pull one of his books of the shelf and start reading it to me over the phone, he was so excited to have an audience. He did say that chin straps came about after shakos became popular military wear but that cavalry members would lose the hat while charging. Chin straps resolved the issue.
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  #40  
Old 02-10-2011, 06:43 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Answer from a West Point Grad: (not much help, actually)

Actually, below lower lip – because
· under the chin looks stupid
· we like it that way
· that’s how they told me to do it
· tradition
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  #41  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:09 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Answer from a West Point Grad: (not much help, actually)

Actually, below lower lip – because
· under the chin looks stupid
Leave it to the Army.
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  #42  
Old 02-10-2011, 08:20 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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These U.S. Regulars at the time of the War of 1812 have the strap under the chin: http://www.thetroubleshooters.com/co...2_image002.jpg

Likewise this Louisiana militia officer, 1841: http://www.washingtonartillery.com/u...41%20litho.JPG

And these 1857 New York militiamen: http://media.photobucket.com/image/s...3f03766v-1.jpg

And these pre-Civil War New Jersey troops: http://www.ng.mil/Images1/today/1228.jpg

And this Civil War regimental musician: http://thecivilwarimageshop.com/images/pict5161.jpg

But not, on the other hand, this 1823 New York militiaman: http://s2.hubimg.com/u/1903201_f260.jpg

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02-10-2011 at 08:22 AM..
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  #43  
Old 02-10-2011, 08:27 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Another wag: something about emphasizing big, manly chins?
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  #44  
Old 02-10-2011, 08:30 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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And here are present-day U.S. Marines in summer dress uniform, with the straps under the chin: http://www.beardface.com/files/news_...ress_blues.jpg
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  #45  
Old 02-10-2011, 08:41 AM
WreckingCrew WreckingCrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I mean, it isn't as if there are not nicer periods/styles to choose from. Those "tarbucket"helmets must be a PIA to wear-why doen't West Point change to civil war-type uniforms? Blue tunics and stetson hats-thats a cool look-and no white pants to get grass stains on.
There is a legend that the West Point uniforms date back to those worn by the first U.S. professional Army during the War of 1812. Also apocryphal, but still wonderful, is the comment supposedly made by the British commander who realized he was not facing a militia unit - "Those are regulars, by God!" The military equivalent of "you're gonna need a bigger boat."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chippawa
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  #46  
Old 02-10-2011, 03:27 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnut View Post
I note that the French wear the chin straps under the chin (maybe the other is really a lip strap?).
There already is a word that means "lip strap":

Gag.
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  #47  
Old 02-10-2011, 03:27 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Originally Posted by WreckingCrew View Post
There is a legend that the West Point uniforms date back to those worn by the first U.S. professional Army during the War of 1812....
As shown in the first link of post 42.
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  #48  
Old 02-10-2011, 03:37 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Answer from a West Point Grad: (not much help, actually)

Actually, below lower lip – because
· under the chin looks stupid
· we like it that way
· that’s how they told me to do it
· tradition
I doubt that this graduate knows the real answer. Is anyone interested enough to call the USMA directly and ask?
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  #49  
Old 02-10-2011, 06:13 PM
Cugel Cugel is offline
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Originally Posted by carnut View Post
Now I know where Monty Python got their Department of Silly Walks skit idea.
There's Python for every occasion
http://www.montypython.net/scripts/nationwide.php
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  #50  
Old 02-10-2011, 08:12 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Answer from a West Point Grad: (not much help, actually)

Actually, below lower lip – because
· under the chin looks stupid
Better than holding up the lower lip. IMO that looks really stupid.

The tradition part, I understand.
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