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Helmet Band Items

The Vietnam Resource - Miscellaneous Topics - Helmet Band Items

The Database The Vietnam Resource

Assembling your Helmet
M1 Helmet
Helmet Graffiti

Some ideas on what to put in your Helmet Band!

C-Ration Cigarettes



Description: A small pack of cigarettes that came with the C-Ration packet. It contains 4 cigarettes. There is a choice of packs e.g. PalMal, Marlboro, Winstons, Bensons & Hedges, Newport.
Notes: Not a hard to find item. It gives your helmet that recognisable 'Nam look'.
Tip: If you can't find any or want a cheap alternative just buy packs of 10 cigarettes, they are similar in size.

Bug Juice (Insect Repellent)

Front Back Paper

Description: A small plastic bottle with screw lid containing sweet smelling liquid to keep the flies away.
Notes: Sweet smelling....are you mad!
I know of three varieties: (1) clear bottle with paper label, (2) clear bottle with printing directly on the bottle (Pictured above) and (3) green bottle also with printing directly on the bottle.
If you see one of these buy it. They are hard to find.

C-Ration Spoon

Description: A white plastic spoon that came with the C-Rations accessory pack.
Notes: Don't think that any old white spoon will do, it will not. OK!

P-38 Can Opener

Description: A small metal device for opening cans.
Notes: There is also a larger P58 Can Opener.
When soldiers had C-rations, the P-38 was your access to food; that made it the hierarchy of needs. Soldiers discovered it was the tool acquired its name from the 38 punctures required to open a C-ration can, and from the boast that it performed with the speed of the World War II P-38 fighter plane. Never in its 52-year history has it been known to break, rust, need sharpening or polishing. The P-38 was an extremely simple, lightweight, multipurpose tool. In warfare, the simpler something is and the easier access it has, the more you're going to use it. The P-38 had all of those things going for it. The P-38 is one of those tools you keep and never want to get rid of because I can use it as a screwdriver, knife, anything. Perhaps that is why many soldiers, past and present, regard the P-38 C-ration can opener as the Army's best invention.

These notes were 'borrowed' from another website, but I can't remember where.

Gun Oil

Description: A plastic bottle containing LSA gun oil. (Light Small Arms).
Notes: Sometimes seen in the helmets of GI's. There various shaped bottles, but commonly there is a Bug Juice shaped one and a larger one pictured in The US Marine in Vietnam 1965-1973 (Bujeiro & Melson, 1998:38).

C-Ration Matches

C-Rat Matches

Description: A cardboard packet of damp resistant matches that comes with the C-Rations accessory packet.

First Aid Packet

Description: A small first aid packet sealed in plastic wrapping containing a sterilised cotton gauze.
Notes: Normally kept in the Compass Pouch, but also seen kept in the helmet band, especially by Medics.


Description: Often seen in period photographs are GI's keeping socks in their helmet band, to dry.

Spare Clip

Description: M16/M14 spare magazine, holds 19 or 20 rounds.
Notes: Often seen in pictures, giving immediate access.

Other items sometimes seen Toilet Paper, Death Cards, other personal items.


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