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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Marking of a helmet cover dated 1973
Non-exhaustive list of manufacturing dates and manufacturers of helmet covers during the Vietnam War.
|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 1-6600-65-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 100-69-F-U992||Mnpls Soc f/t Blind||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|