The M-1965 Field Jacket (or M65 Jacket) was very similar to the evolving line of field jackets that started in World War II with the M-1943 Field Jacket. Through experience in Korea and Vietnam, the design was upgraded with small improvements.
In 1950, the very successful World War II M-1943 Field Jacket was replaced by a modified version, the M-1950, nearly identical to the M-1943 but with the addition of inside buttons for a liner. The M-1950 quickly replaced by the M-1951 Field Jacket, which modified the front closure buttons with a zipper and the pocket closure buttons with metal snaps.
The M65 or M1965 Field Jacket
In 1965 the Army began upgrading the M-1951 Field Jacket to the latest in the design series, the M-1965 Field Jacket (also known as the M65, M1965, or M-65).
Later variations of the jacket were known as "Coat, Cold Weather, Field" with color OG-107 (olive drab) followed by the same jacket with camouflage patterns. The changes were not so much in the basic design as to the details.
The M-1965 Field Jacket is the most broadly adopted military coat ever. It has been widely copied and is available from many sources both as military surplus and as commercial copies. For example, click here.
Like the M-1943 Field Jacket, the M-1965 jacket still had four large cargo pockets and an internally tied draw string waist, but the wrist closures were provided with velcro (hook and loop) fasteners. The pockets used metal snaps to close. The front fly tab closed with snaps too, over a heavy zipper. A zipper along the back of the collar hides an attached hood that could be pulled out when needed. A storm flap could be closed over the throat with a velcro tab. Most jackets had an information label sewn into the back at the top, just under the collar. Photo to the left shows PFC Glen Zachery with mail bag and a group of other soldiers in M-65 jackets, 19th Army Postal Unit, Yong Son, Korea, 14-15 December 1970.
A liner for the M-65 field jacket was a separate item of issue. It was made of a nylon quilted outershell (in matching color to the jacket), with 5 oz. polyester fill. When needed, the liner buttoned into the jacket including buttons at the wrist of each sleave. The label to the right reads "Liner, Cold Weather Coat, Mans" and you can see some of the quilting.
Originally, the M-65 was issued in olive drab color only. Later, desert camo and other patterns were utilized. By the mid-1990s a changeover to camoflauge pattern took place in all services. For years both olive drab and camo could be seen, but by late 1997 most US services were camo only, predominately either the green/brown woodland pattern or the tan/brown desert pattern (as the sample label pictured).
In 2009 the M-65 field jacket was finally replaced after many decades of service. Its place was taken by the outerwear of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), either Generation II or Generation III as available.
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