Individual First Aid Kit

Simulated casualty from the 410 Air Expeditionary Wing, USAF, during an exercise, 1 March 2003.  He is wearing the First Aid Kit, Individual
Simulated casualty from the 410 Air Expeditionary Wing, USAF, during an exercise, 1 March 2003. He is wearing the First Aid Kit, Individual.

Today in WW II: 15 Oct 1940 In the heaviest attacks of the Blitz so far, Birmingham and Bristol suffer while 400 bombers hit London for six hours. Exhausted RAF puts up only 41 fighters, shooting down only one bomber.  More 
15 Oct 1941 After stalling at fortifications protecting Moscow from the west, and fighting off Red Army counterattacks, Wehrmacht resumes offensive against the defensive perimeter of Moscow.
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History of the Individual First Aid Kit

Close up of equipment belt of a Marine riding in an M-151A2 jeep on the streets of downtown Beirut, 1 April 1983.  The First Aid Kit, Individual was typically worn on the back of the belt, between the canteens, as shown.  The insert box can be seen under the flap
Close up of equipment belt of a Marine riding in an M-151A2 1/4 ton truck (jeep) on the streets of downtown Beirut, 1 April 1983. The First Aid Kit, Individual was typically worn by Marines on the back of the belt, between the canteens, as shown. The insert box can be seen under the flap.

From 1967, in the latter stages of the Vietnam War, and afterward, Marines carried an Individual First Aid Kit derived from the canvas World War II Jungle First Aid Kit. The square nylon case was carried on the back of the equipment belt, attached by Alice keepers. In addition to Marines, the kit was issued to medics, carried in aircraft and patrol boats, and packed as a component of larger medical kits. The Army continued to rely on the Battle Dressing and First Aid/Compass Pouch for most soldiers. In fact, FM 4-25.11 (December 2002 version of FM 21-11 First Aid field manual) still describes the first aid case with field dressings and bandages as the only individual first aid kit for soldiers and Marines.

Versions of the First Aid Kit, Individual (IFAK)

There were multiple versions of the Individual First Aid Kit as it evolved, some of which are tabulated here:

FSN/NSN Nomenclature Description
6545-912-0625 Case, First Aid Kit, Empty First evolution after the Jungle First Aid Kit, stamped with Medical Dept logo (US & caduceus) on outside, 1966-1967 contract numbers. Hooks were still M1910, not ALICE keepers and flap was held by snaps, not LTD. Superseded by 6545-180-6239.
6545-180-6239 Case, Medical Instrument and Supply Set No. 8  
6545-01-094-6142 Case, Medical Instrument and Supply Set No. 8 or First Aid Kit, Individual, Nylon Case Casae only. Contract dates mid to late 1980s. ALICE clips and LTD fasteners for flap.
6545-01-523-3689 Case, Medical Instrument Supply Set Case only.
6545-01-094-8412 First Aid Kit, Individual Nylon case, Alice clips, 2 LTD fasteners to close the flap, Medical Dept logo (US & caduceus) on front. Authorized as late as 2005 but superseded by 6545-01-521-8502.
6545-01-400-3397 First Aid Kit, Individual Same as 6545-01-094-8412, but a kit for inventory only, omitting dated contents until issue. Found to be more trouble than it was worth, cancelled in 2003.
6545-01-521-8502 First Aid Kit, Individual Supersedes 6545-01-094-8412. Superseded by 6545-01-528-6546 or 6545-01-530-9451, the Improved Individual First Aid Kit, in 2005.

Medical Department Insignia
Medical Department Insignia

The nylon Individual First Aid Kit was first produced in 1967 as a replacement for the canvas Jungle First Aid Kit (JFAK) pouch from WW II. Its size (4-3/4 inches high by 2-3/8 deep by 4-1/2 wide) was designed to accommodate a plastic insert box that contained the components of the Individual First Aid Kit. The first pattern had snaps to fasten the cover flap, as did the JFAK. The case could be attached to a belt via two Alice clips (M1910 hooks in the first pattern). The case was also later equipped with a Velcro loop for attaching it to a parachute harness. The Medical Dept. insignia was on the front of the flap, between the fasteners.

The plastic insert (NSN 6545-01-094-6136 First Aid Kit, Individual, Plastic Insert) was an olive drab box with a flip top, just a little smaller than the nylon case so it easily slips inside. The first aid kit contents were packed in the insert and sealed with a dated green adhesive label. When used, or when the contents expiration date was reached, the insert was replaced with a fresh one and the old insert returned to supply to be refilled.

The FSN/NSN assignment can be confusing because there was a number for the entire kit (e.g. 6545-01-094-8412) and also a number for the case (e.g. 6545-01-094-6142) and for the plastic insert box (e.g. 6545-01-094-6136) plus NSNs for each content item. All of these kits are visually identical (except for the transition to ALICE clips, and snaps to LTD), but may vary a little in dimensions and contents.

Contents of the Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK)

The IFAK contents varied over time, but a typical list would be:

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