Do You Know the History of U.S. Military Uniforms?

By: Annette
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Throughout history, the uniforms of the United States military have changed for a wide variety of reasons. Different battle circumstances required different styles and functionality, while new achievements merited new awards. In this quiz, we'll test your knowledge​ of U.S. military uniforms. Suit up!

What color were the coats during the Revolutionary War?

Future Americans adopted a fine blue coat to fight for independence. It was similar in style to the British red coat.

A lieutenant of the revolutionary war wore what on one shoulder?

You could tell that a man was a lieutenant by the epaulet on his shoulder - left for second lieutenants and right for first lieutenants.

Grey coats in the War of 1812 were due to ______ ?

During the War of 1812, the fine blue coats were supplanted by grey coats. This was due to a shortage of blue wool.

The Belgic-type box cap of 1814 was known as a ______ shako.

The Tombstone Shako was the box-style cap that soldiers wore in 1814. It was called this due to the extension at the top front that looked like a tombstone.

Along with epaulets, what were used to show rank in the early 1800s?

Shoulder wings were used to show rank within the forces. Epaulets were the other way of displaying rank.

Why did the bell crown cap of the early 1800s have a hole in the top front?

The hole on the top front of the bell crown cap was meant to accommodate a colored pompon, which revealed the type of service for each soldier. These caps were quite tall.

A soldier's coat was once referred to as a _______.

"Coatee" was a word used to refer to a soldier's coat. The coatee changed styles and colors throughout the years.

In the mid-1800s, non-commissioned officers were authorized to place ______ on both sleeves.

Non-commissioned officers were authorized to put chevrons on both sleeves. These were placed above the elbow.

What was the uniform color of WWII?

Olive drab uniforms were worn by soldiers in WWII. They also wore the newly designed M1 helmets.

Prior to WWII, soldiers only wore ______ badges.

Prior to WWII, soldiers only wore marksmanship badges. During and after the war, specialty awards were created for parachutists, aviators and infantrymen.

What happened to the staff sergeant after WWII?

Changes happened after WWII. All staff sergeants became sergeants. This was then reversed ten years later.

In the mid-20th century, Army rank badges were what colors?

Badges signifying a soldier's rank in the army were green and gold. The higher the rank the larger the badge.

When did camo start to be worn?

Vietnam saw the first widespread camo wear. It was called the Army's Engineer Research and Development Lab-made camouflage pattern, or ERDL.

In Vietnam, soldiers also wore ______ uniforms.

Tigerstripe was a pattern similar to camo. It was worn by Vietnam forces and U.S. forces alike.

In 1981, the army adopted _____ camouflage.

Woodland camouflage was widely adopted in 1981. This remained consistent through the mid-2000s.

What type of coat was used in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Afghanistan and Iraq were the first to use mostly desert camo. However, some woodland camo was still used.

What was another name for Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniforms?

OCP uniforms were also known as multicam. These featured digital camo patterns in the desert camo colors.

Who said, “We will still be the most lethal fighting force the world has even known even if our belts don’t match for the next few years”?

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey made this quote in a press release. The quote addressed recent shifts in uniforms; a transition to the Operational Camouflage​ Pattern.

What is known as the Age of the Shako Headdress?

The Age of the Shako Headdress took place during the War of 1812. The Shako was a tall, hard hat with a flourish at the front.

During the Civil War, Federal forces wore blue while Confederate forces wore ______ ?

The Confederate forces wore grey while the Federal forces wore blue. Of course, this was not strict and there was a lot of variation.

When was the khaki uniform introduced?

The Spanish-American war saw the introduction of the khaki uniform. The tropical climate made the old blue coats unsuitable.

Post-WWI​ saw the _____ of military uniforms.

There was a lull in uniform modernization after WWII. That means that soldiers in the mid-1920s were still wearing uniforms from 1912-1918.

What is the most recognizable American uniform of WWII?

The M41 field jacket became the most recognizable uniform piece of WWII. It was also known as the 1941 Parsons Jacket.

Which of these was used during Vietnam?

The very last of the WWII and Korean War uniforms were used during the early years of Vietnam. By the 1960s, the uniform received an update.

What does BDU stand for?

BDU stands for Battle Dress Uniform. It is another way of describing the woodland camo that we see beginning in 1981.

When were desert combat boots adopted?

Army Combat Boots were universally adopted for Iraq in 2003. They have both desert and temperate climate versions.

In the early 2000s, the old Kevlar helmet was replaced by ______ ?

The Modular Integrated Communications Helmet was introduced in the early 2000s. This type of helmet was a major advance over the Kevlar helmet.

What does IOTV stand for?

IOTV is the Improved Outer Tactical Vest. It was adopted in 2008 and continues to be innovated and improved.

What was the precursor to the Purple Heart?

The Badge of Military Merit was the precursor to the Purple Heart. It was first issued in the Revolutionary War.

What was the precursor to the Aircrew Badge?

The Aerial Gunner Badge was the precursor to the Aircrew Badge. It was first issued in WWII and was last issued in 1953.

What does ACU stand for?

The ACU, or Army Combat Uniform, is the current standard uniform in the military. There is also a Flame-Resistant Army Combat Uniform (FRACU).

Who wears an ACU?

All of the above branches of the military wear the ACU. It has been worn throughout the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How many U.S. flag insignia can be worn on the ACU?

Today, three U.S. flag insignia are authorized to be worn. These include the full-color, full-color IR, and subdued IR.

What is Near Infrared (NIR) Signature Management Technology?

Near Infrared (NIR) Signature Management Technology is built into a soldier's ACU coat in order to subdue infrared activity. There are also special features that allow American soldiers to identify one another in the dark.

The trench coat is attributed to which war?

As the name suggests, the trench coat is attributed to The Great War. In reality, it was invented in the early part of the 19th century.

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