A South Florida reenactor wears a modern-day reproduction of the famed field jacket.
Olive Drab Cotton Field Jacket (also known as OD Cotton Field Jacket, Parsons Jacket, M-1938 or M-1941) is a field jacket used by US Army soldiers, most famously during the beginning of World War II. In 1941 it started to be phased in as a replacement for the wool four pocket service coat, but around 1943 it was replaced in turn by an improved M-1943 model. Due to wide adoption, M-1941 is usually recognized as a symbol of the World War II American G.I.. The jacket was made in a lighter shade of olive drab called OD number 3.
1 The First Field Jacket
2 Jacket Design
3 World War II
5 External links
The First Field Jacket
From World War I up until 1940 soldiers in the United States Army wore a wool four pocket service coat as the outer garment of their uniforms, both in garrison and in the field. This followed the general pattern adopted by most major armies of the world, but proved to be rather impractical. At the end of the 1930s, the Army moved to adopt a new outer garment that was intended to be more utilitarian and provide better protection in combat. The army’s first attempts included adding a pleated “bi-swing” back to the service coat, a change adopted with the M-1939 Service Coat.
The first field jacket was based on a civilian jacket suggested by Major General James K. Parsons, for whom it was unofficially named. Unlike the service coat, the material for the jacket was more wind and water resistant. A further reason for adopting a field jacket made of a different material was that there were expected shortages of wool. The jacket could be worn with both winter (OD wool) and summer (khaki chino) uniforms as well as fatigue uniforms. The Olive Drab Cotton Field Jacket was standardized and adopted in June 1940 for use by all members of the US Army for wear with both the winter and summer service uniforms. Jackets of similar design were later also adopted by the navy and Marine Corps.
Note that many individuals have referred to the OD cotton field jacket incorrectly as either the “M-1938” or “M-1941”, “M-41” (hence the title of this article). This designation is, however, false. The Army Quartermaster Corps, who developed clothing, used model numbers sparingly and only used them to differentiate two or more similar types of garments from one another. In 1940, there was only one field jacket, so there was no need to give it