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View Poll Results: In the late 50's & early 60's, what polish was authorized for boots?
Kiwi USMC Dark Brown shoe polish 10 45.45%
Black shoe polish 12 54.55%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2008, 01:38 PM
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Cool Late 50's Marines up!

In the latest issue of Leatherneck Magaizine there is a lot of discussion about shining those "fuzzy" combat boots we were issued in the late 50's. I seem to remember that the Corps policy, back then, was to use KIWI USMC Dark Brown shoe polish on all of our leather (Barracks Cap bill, shoes and even our boots). Am I wrong?
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:26 PM
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DARK BROWN?????

Why would you use dark brown polish Jack? We used kiwi polish in 1964, but it was black. We polished our boots, and covers with black polish.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:32 PM
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Cool Back in 1958......

The color of uniform leather was dark brown. And, that included the barracks cover bill. In fact, new shoes or the barracks cover had to be dyed with Flebings Dark Brown Shoe Dye and then polished with Kiwi USMC Dark Brown shoe polish. When the Corps went to black leather, Kiwi stopped marketing Kiwi USMC Dark Brown Polish. Those cans, with USMC on them, are collector's items today.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:35 PM
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What year did they,

change over to black?
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2008, 06:38 PM
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Cool They were still dark brown in 1962. As a side note......

Back when dark brown was the color of Marine leather per USMC Uniform Regulations, JOTB inspections sometimes meant that your shoes would be picked off of the rack and scrapped with a pocket knife to see if you had been using black shoe polish.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:06 AM
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No Marine forgets,

the amount of time he/she spent polishing their shoes, boots, and covers.
Seeing your face in a polished set of shoes or boots didn't just happen. It took many hours of hard work getting them in that condition. I can't imagine an inspector (officer) taking a knife to any pair of shoes or boots to see what's under the top layer of polish. THAT officer should have had his ass handed to him by the company Sgt Major, or First Sgt.
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2008, 01:52 PM
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Talking No Boot polish in my day!

Dress shoes were absolutely polished with Kiwi "Marine Corps Brown" shoe polish. The Kiwi Company actually marketed a "Marine Corps Brown" shade of shoe polish.

Early on, when standing inspection in Dress Uniform as a Boot, the inspecting officer would almost always look down at your shoes to insure that they were indeed Marine Corps brown and not black (Marine Corps Brown was very dark, almost black, but definitely NOT black).

As far as combat boots/boondockers were concerned, in my day they were issued with a rough exterior. They were originally dyed black. When I was in Boot Camp, the only accepted care for combat boots and boondockers (we were issued one of each) was saddle soap. No polish. If you worked hard enough, you could coax a shine out of a saddle soap treatment.

The black polish on your combat boots or boondockers crap came afterwords in the fleet. When some Marines would use black polish on their boots instead of saddle soap. It was easier to buff up a shine with shoe polish then with saddle soap.

Kiwi "Marine Corps Brown" polish spit shinned on dress shoes.

Saddle soap on combat boots and boondockers.

I saw the Leatherneck letters. Sure is dumb to be spit shining Combat Boots or Boondockers. Only pouges who seldom served in the field did that.

That's my humble opinion as a former Marine Corps Combat Engineer who spent plenty of time in the field and who absolutely refused to spit shine his freaking boots. Even my dress shoes only got cursory attention. It's freaking footwear after all!

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  #8  
Old 05-09-2008, 04:17 PM
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in 1960 we had to dye our boot's/dress shoes black we did use
Kiwi but it was not mark "U.S.M.C." and that was in April of 1960,
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2008, 09:32 AM
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Cool As near as I can find out.......

The Corps switched over to black shoes and barracks cap bills around 1964. Until then, Marines were told to dye boots and shoes dark brown and shine them with Kiwi USMC Dark Brown polish. There was an earlier period where cordovan shoes were worn but leather was switched to dark brown sometime in the mid 50's.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:17 AM
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Had to go back to,

my boot camp pictures to varify we also didn't spit shine our boots, only our dress shoe's and dress cover. After reading larSim comments about boots it got me thinking.

I stand corrected, no shine on combat boots. But we did spit shine the hell how of everything else. ha
Brass was another area we put a lot of work into.
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2008, 11:50 AM
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Talking Marine Corps Brown Shoe Polish

This whole thread about shoe polish got me thinking.

Back in the day (early 60's) Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was on a tear to streamline DOD expenses. He was instrumental in eliminating sateen utilities from the Marine Corps. The dork. Sateen Utilities in my humble opinion were a class act (we had watch pockets and real pockets - not patch pockets - in the trousers for god's sake) .

Anyways, what I heard was that he found out the the Marine Corps had their own brand of shoe polish. He was livid. How in the hell was it cost effective for the Marine Corps to have their own particular shade of shoe polish. Cut it now!

Then he was informed that Marines bought their "particular shade of shoe polish" with their own money at the PX. No cost to the government.

Never mind.

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  #12  
Old 05-10-2008, 01:47 PM
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Cool The shining of boots was a unit thing after boot

But, I'm positive the only authorized polish for shoes, boots, bills and headstraps was Kiwi USMC Dark Brown. Brasso was what we used for brass and anodized brass was forbidden.
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2008, 07:19 PM
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Brasso,

was the ONLY brass polish I remember using. Don't remember buying shoe polish though, or having it given to me during clothing issues. We did of course use black polish, and brasso in 64.

Larsim, Mac was an idiet just like old RUMMY in this war. It took years for him (McNamara) to FINALLY come clean on the Gulf of Tonkin incident years later.

I still have my uniform hanging on the same hang in the closet where I put it in 1970. I also have my belt buckle I received from an old sold of the 50's when he got out in 1966. It was different from our issuesd buckles, not as thick, or big around.

At almost 61, it seems like yesterday. Funny how we remember Marine Corps stuff, when I can't remember what I eat two days ago. ha
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2008, 10:37 PM
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In my day of boot camp that started in Oct. 1959 . We dyed our dress shoes with cordovan dye and polished with dark brown polish. The same for our bills and straps.Our combat boots and boonknockers we used saddlesoap and then I used a bottle and rubbed them to make them shine. I think the bottle was what the lubriplate came in . It was a small bottle anyway what ever it was. After bootcamp It was black polish. Of course it was Kiwi polish. We didn't have an iron in bootcamp so I would damp my covers and use the metal end on a pencil eraser to crease my green covers on the old water radiator heaters in the barracks. Did any of you do that ? Just wondering.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:37 AM
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Utility covers,

OK so how many of you starched the hell out of your utility covers and placed them over coffee cans to dry?
If you ever ran out of ammo you could throw your cover at on-coming enemy it was so hard..ha
Of course I'm kidding, starch didn't last long in the heat of Nam. But us Marines not in country would startch our covers to make them stand up. The saltier you were, the more the bill got bent.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:09 AM
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Ah for the first three weeks in bootcamp you didn't even think about removing the white tags on your covers let alone bending the bill. That was when we first got to wash our clothes in a bucket and tie them on the line with tie ties. I believe the bucket was what our 782 gear came in.

Question : How many of you put the bayonet on your rifle to see how it looked and fit after you were told not to? I did and then couldn't get the m@#&*r F*&%@r off . In walked the DI . Can you even imagine what kind of hell I caught then. That happened in Nov. 1959. Will never forget bootcamp.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:34 PM
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Talking Starched Utility Covers

I think I was on the cusp of Marine Corps history as far as starched utility covers are concerned. I never starched my utility cover. Never in Boot Camp. Once I got in the Fleet I noticed other Marines with starched utility covers. Not for me. In fact, I'd bust off the cardboard stiffeners on the front of the cover to give the utility cover a more "salty" look.

Hell, those Marines who starched their covers would, when entering a building, uncover and have to stuff the bill of their cover in belt in the small of their back so as not to crush the starched cover. Me? I'd just stuff mine in my back pocket.

Any you Marines ever see the movie "The DI" starring Jack Webb? The DIs in the movie would wear utility covers when wearing utilities rather then Campaign Covers. Now those were some salty utility covers.

Shered:

Bayonets in November, 1959? Let me guess, they were those 10-inch bayonets with the blood groove, right? Pretty formidable looking weapon. Looked a lot nastier than those shorter 6-1/2 inch bayonets they issued to us in the Fleet. I graduated Parris Island in December, 1959.

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Old 05-12-2008, 04:07 AM
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Cool The DI's had just gone to Campaign Covers when "The DI" was made

The movie was made in 1957 and the Corps elected to fully cooporate with the making of the movie because they felt it would be good for the image of the Corps after the Ribbon Creek incident, and courtmartial, had dominated the headlines for the past year. Although the Corps had dropped the herringbone utilities of WWII, the recruit depots had gotten the remaining inventory of them and still issued them to recruits until the inventory was depleated. In 1958, they had a few of the herringbone utilities left in my size so my initial seabag issue consisted of one set of herringbone utilities and one set of the new sateen utilities. That caused me a lot of grief at my first duty station until the CO authorized me an allotment to purchase another set of the new utilities.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:28 AM
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Some of those

'recruits' in the movie were actually Drill Instructors at MCRD SD. When I went on the Drill Field in '58, at least one of them was still there in 1st Bn.
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:43 AM
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Cool The buddy of Jack Webb's character was a real DI from 3rd BN at PI.

He was a Corporal at the time but they made him a Sergeant in the movie. He was actually one of the JDI's under noted Marine author Gene Alvarez in 3rd BN at PI. I seem to remember that Gene said, in one of his books, that he was promoted to Sergeant sometime after the movie and did a couple of tours as a PI DI.

Did you know that Jack Webb wore a corset in the movie to give him a waist that looked good in a Marine uniform?

Shooting of the movie was partially done at Parris Island but most of the shooting was done at San Diego. With the exception of main characters, most recruits were actual recruits from San Diego.
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