Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soviet Army Officer Visored Field Hat

Here's another bit of Soviet Military memorabilia from my collection. In the late 1980's (or early 1990's....), I received this hat from my mother-in-law, who had received it from a friend of hers that had traveled to the USSR as part of a peace exchange group. She was told that the hat was given to her (the friend), by a Russian Afghanistan War veteran. The vet said that this was one of the hats he had worn while serving with the Army while fighting in Afghanistan. The Soviet-Afghan War lasted from December 25, 1979 until February 15, 1988.

The hat is a smaller size, too small for me to wear. This model of the field hat was worn by all officers, of all branches, from 1970 to 1989. The khaki-olive field hats were used in field combat zones.

Here is a photo of a group of Soviet officers wearing the Visored Field Hat in the field:

Soviet River Fleet Parade Belt

Today's "showcase" is a belt that I picked up off of eBay a few years ago. It is a 1950's or 1960's Russian River Fleet parade belt with buckle.

The Soviet River Fleet Service had a system of rank and personnel similar to that of the Soviet Merchant Marines, but according to what I have read, it was somewhat more relaxed in uniform and discipline. The River Fleet operated on the Volga River system and ran the cargo ships, tugs, tankers and passenger ships on the river as well as shipbuilding, waterway maintenance and construction. The service had its own medical facilities and housing as well. River Fleet personnel have numbered around 350,000 since 1955.

The River Fleet belt buckle is distinctive from the Soviet Navy buckles in that it does not have a Soviet Star superimposed over the anchor. I find this quite surprising since every other service branch in the Soviet Union seemed to have the communist star.
The belt is a woven in a yellow color with two small brass rings that were used to hang the parade dagger from. If I am lucky enough to find more details on this belt and buckle I'll make another posting later (there seems to be very little info at all about the River Fleet at all and nearly nothing on their uniforms and equipment).

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favorite Snow Bunny

Sweet Pea!

Thanksgiving Storm

Well I'm back after being "off the e -grid" for the last week........... Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving :)

We had a very early, very cold, and snowy storm that hit just before the holiday and left us without power for a while, and snow bound with temperatures in the teens and twenties for a week! We're all thawed out now and back to the wind and rain, in other words, "back to normal".....

Here's a pictorial of my drive home on day ONE of the storm:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Soviet Medals and Pins

I picked up a number of old Soviet medals and pins in my travels about 15 or more years ago and they have been living in an old Huckleberry Jam jar ever since............. I've been sorting and organizing my "treasures" and ran back across them the other day and decided to actually find out what they were for! I have a co-worker who was born and raised in Russia and has lived there for all but the last few years. She took a look at the pins and gave me her translation.................

Here is what I know so far:


This pin is a "Young Pioneers" pin. The "Young Pioneers were the USSR's equivalent of the Boy and Girls Scouts. The Young Pioneers were in existence from 1922 to 1991. The translated motto on the pin's banner reads: "Always Ready". Irena said that every time you said the "slogan", you had to give the official salute.

This is an official membership pin of the original Communist Party of Russia (KNCC).

This is a military pin that I am not quite sure of as of yet. I can however say that it appears to be from a "Naval Aviation Technical Department" of some sort. I'll be doing more research to see if I can find out what it is exactly.

This is a "common" hat pin from the Soviet Army. This is the pin you would see on field caps, etc.


This is a commemorative pin that could be purchased and worn by anyone. It commemorates the "Patriotic War of 1941-1945" . It features a miniature version of Russia's highest WW2 award, "The Order of the Patriotic War Medal" on the field of green.

This one roughly translates to something like "Western Fort or Defense", so I would imagine it would be for some sort of service related duty on the borders.

This is a partial medal......... it would hang from an attached ribbon and pin originally. This award was called "Inventor of the Soviet Union", and was awarded to people who contributed a good invention or idea to the USSR.

This one is a badge for an "Industrial Label Inspector". Sounds like a really interesting job to have had during the Cold War days of the Soviet Union...........

This is a sports pin for a youth tennis championship held in 1989.

This is a pin for a city located in Russia that is known for it's radiation contamination from a meltdown during the dark days of the Cold War....... Irena said that the nuclear accident occurred when things were routinely covered up by the Soviet Government so it is not that well known outside Russia today. I'm still not sure exactly what the town is called..... "lost in translation".

This is a city pin for the port city of Nakhodka. This city is located in the Far East of Russia on Nakhodka Bay, on The Sea of Japan. It is one of the most easterly large cities in Russia.

I'll continue to research these pins to see if I can find out more, but until then, we'll just have to be happy with the translations by my Russian co-worker and my brief internet searches.......

Monday, November 15, 2010

US Cold Weather Jacket in Woodland Camo

This last week I picked up a U.S. Cold Weather Field Jacket at the Port Townsend Goodwill. I had to pay full price as it had just hit the racks, but even at that it was a steal!

The jacket appears to be brand new, never washed and unworn. It has the old stitching holes on the inside where the name strip and branch strip (US Army, etc.) had been sewn on and then removed. No stitching holes from any other patches. In the breast pocket I found two new US Army qualification pins, one for rifle (marksman) and one for grenade (expert). My guess is that the jacket was a boot camp issue jacket that never ended up being worn. If it had been issued in the field, I would imagine that some sort of unit patches, etc. would have been sewn on. This would also explain the two brand new qualification pins.

The jacket is in my EXACT size! I'm lovin' it and wearin' it :)

The jacket has an "SPO" contract code on the label, with the year code of "99". This makes the year of manufacture as 1999. "SPO" stands for "System Program Office. The SPO contract numbers have been used since 1994.

The official name for this style camouflage is M81 Woodland Pattern. As the title implies, it has been in use in the US military since 1981. In the US military of today, the US Navy Seals and Seabees are the only branches still using this pattern. It is now used primarily by civilian special police teams like SWAT and by the FBI, DEA, etc.

This "standard" US camo pattern is also used by military forces all over the world....... Mexico, Netherlands, Afghanistan National Army, Cambodia, Nigeria, Latvia, Pakistan, South Korea, to name just a few. For a more complete list, check out this Wikipedia page that lists the world's armies and what camo patterns that they wear. Many countries use several different styles for each of their branches.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

1960's Starcraft Sea Scamp

Well after a ton of searching through old pictures, ads, and what-not, we have identified the model of our new-old aluminum boat...........

It's a pre-1970's, most likely 1960's, but could be 1950's, Starcraft Sea Scamp model. The 12 foot Sea Scamp was designed as a budget car-topper fishing boat. Here are a few period ads for the Sea Scamps:



I'm finishing up a mahogany transom board to replace the original plywood that had some rot and we are getting ready to prepare the hull for new paint. We're getting closer to having it restored, licensed and on the water!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Origo 3000 Boat Stove

To finish out the list of amazing bargains of the weekend, I will add the find-of-finds, the crowning jewel, The Optimus 3000 !

We stopped by the Port Townsend Goodwill Store to take advantage of the Sunday .99 cent tag sale and scored an amazing deal! I found a double burner Optimus alcohol boat stove on the bottom shelf in the kitchen pots-n-pans section!

This is the EXACT stove that I have been hunting for for the Bernadine! They run about $200 to $300 used............... this one was $3.99 + tax! The stove is the same as the single burner version that I already have and that we used on our Burning Man trip. This one has the adjustable pan rails to keep your pots from sliding off the stove in rough weather, a big bonus.

Bikes, Boats, Books, and Bombs

On Saturday Sweet Pea and I stopped by Westside Marine and picked up a brand new EZ-Loader boat trailer for the "new" aluminum boat that we're setting up. The trailer's great! ....... galvanized, sealed bearings, plastic fenders, easy-load boat cradle, big wheels.................. we dropped it off at the house and headed out to Port Hadlock for a few more errands and stopped by the Northwest Harvest Thrift Shop since it was their "everything's 50% off " day.

It's funny how things will fall into an odd theme
sometimes, well the theme that popped out for me at the thrift shop was "bombs". First off I'll just say that I paid only 50 cents for each item :)

Here's what I picked up:

A Marzocchi Bomber Hat

A signed, First Edition, "Still Life With Woodpecker" book.

A 1925 copy of the Du Pont "Blaster's Handbook"

You may be asking yourself, "How do all these items fall into the theme of "Bombs"?". Well, the hat advertises Marzocchi "BOMBER" bicycle suspension forks. The main character in "Still Life With Woodpecker", is a "BOMBER". The Du Pont "Blaster's Handbook", well it's just that, how to use the old Du Pont dynamite from the old days! Oh yes, and I picked up a brand new Audubon Bird Watchers Binocular Strap Rig. (I know, not in the "BOMBER" theme, but it does start with a "B" ).

Just another Saturday with Sweet Pea and Sharky!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bulgarian WW2 Photos

Here are few good shots of Bulgarian troops during WW2. They show the field use of the Bulgarian "Kaska" model 36 helmet very nicely: