US Vietnam Mitchell Helmet Cover

Developed during the Korean War, the helmet cover commonly known as "Mitchell Pattern" whose official name is "Helmet, Cover, Camouflage" is a reversible patterned helmet cover. It has a "forest" patterned side made up of green leaves and branches. The other side is "sand" in color with a variation of beige colors. This Mitchell pattern camouflage was first used in 1953 as camouflage for the Marine Corps Half Tent.

Camouflaged half-tent with the Mitchell pattern of USMC dated 1953

Half-tent camouflaged with the USMC Michell pattern dated 1953

The Mitchell pattern helmet cover was introduced in 1959 and used by Marines and regular army troops throughout the Vietnam War. The cover of the helmet also has slits or buttonholes intended to attach branches and foliage in order to perfect the camouflage according to the environment. Early versions of the "Helmet, Cover, Camouflage" had longer flaps, so a slot was needed for the heavy helmet's chinstrap to pass through.

Comparison between early and late Mitchell helmet cover
Early slotted model on the left and later model on the right
These helmet covers are always marked and dated by the manufacturer. Unlike World War I and World War II material, the markings are less easily broken down. Indeed, the date is not written explicitly and requires a little practice to be decoded.

If you're new to dating post-war US material, one of the most important things to remember are the acronyms DA, DSA, DLA, and SPO. The first is DA, which stands for Defense Agency. It was found on equipment from 1953 to 1961. It was replaced by DSA, which stands for "Defence Supply Agency". It was used from 1962 to 1977. After that, DLA, "Defense Logistics Agency" or national defense logistics agency took over from 1978 to 1993. Since 1994, the SPO- "System Project Office" is responsible for US logistics and equipment.
The material stamped DA therefore goes from the Korean War to the beginning of the Vietnam War. Look for a two-digit number, usually near the end of the code (53 to 61), that indicates the exact year your item was made. Some productions do not include the DA prefix, do not hesitate to refer to the table at the end of this article for more information concerning the date of manufacture of the helmet covers.
DSA-stamped objects introduced a systematic dating process:
  • 1962 to 1964 - DSA-1 Prefix, E6Y Suffix (Y = Year)
  • 1965 – DSA-1 prefix, no dating suffix
  • 1966 – DSA-100 prefix, no dating suffix
  • 1967 to 1977 DSA-100 prefix, Dating suffix of YYM (YY= Year, M = Month)

Other numeric or alphanumeric codes may appear but these codes have nothing to do with the date of manufacture, but are usually related to defense contracts or manufacturing codes.

The DLA code then took over as DLA-100-832. This example shows an object made in the month of February 1983 (832= YAM or Year Year Month).

The SPO marking has the year of manufacture as the first two-digit code after the initial 6-character alphanumeric code, for example Ex: ABC12A-04-xxxx would indicate an object manufactured in 2004.

Here is an example of a helmet cover manufactured by the firm MNPLS SOC F/T BLIND in 1973.

Vietnam Mitchell type helmet cover manufacturer stamp

Marking of a helmet cover dated 1973

Non-exhaustive list of manufacturing dates and manufacturers of helmet covers during the Vietnam War.

Marking Maker dates
USMC Project Number 5501 DC & TSC DIR. MFG. February 4, 1959
USMC Project Number 5850 DC & TSC DIR. MFG. December 10, 1959
PO No. 5002-62 1962
DSA 1-811-C-62 1962
DSA 1-1940-63-C 1963
DSA 1-3839-64-C 1964
DSA 1-4540-64-C 1964
DSA 1-6600-65-C Late 1964-1965
DSA 1-6680-65-C Late 1964-1965
Contract No. 5432 1964
Contract No. 5626 1964
Contract No. 5654 1964
Contract No. 5656 1964
Contract No. 5858 1964
Contract No. 7005 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 7057 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 7219 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 7332 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 7882 (or 1-7332) End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 8027 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 8056 End of 1964-Beginning of 1965
Contract No. 8116 Early 1965
Contract No. 8133 Early 1965
Contract No. 8189 Early 1965
Contract No. 9005 Mid 1965
Contract No. 9085 Mid 1965
Contract No. 9196 Mid 1965
DSA 100-2157 End of 1965-Beginning of 1966
DSA 100-3937 Early 1966
DSA 100-67-C-0713 Capitol Fur 1967
DSA 100-67-C-3697 1967
DSA 100-68-C-2168 1968
DSA 100-68-C-2188 1968
DSA 100-69-C-0944 1969
DSA 100-69-C-1921 1969
DSA 100-69-F-U992 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1970
DSA 100-70-C-0822 1970
DSA 100-70-C-0823 1970
DSA 100-70-F-V075 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1973
DSA 100-73-F-U289 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1973
DSA 100-74F-U060 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1974
DSA 100-74-F-U524 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1974
DSA 100-74-F-U919 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1974
DSA 100-75-F-V289 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1975
DSA 100-77-F-U393 Mnpls Soc f/t Blind 1977
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.