Brig. Gen. Anthony C. Mcauliffe, artillery commander of the 101st Airborne Division, briefs glider pilots on Operation Market Garden D+1, England, 18 September 1944. A Packet, First Aid, Parachute is attached to his helmet.
The Packet, First Aid, Parachute was Medical Department item number 97785, later 9778500 when the numbers were lengthened. That number is for the whole kit, including contents. The case alone is number 97786 (or 9778600). It is an individual first aid kit issued to parachute troopers, pilots, and other air crew members. It featured long cotton strips to be used as ties so the packet could be attached to a parachute harness, equipment belt, arm or leg, or other convenient attachment point.
There were two patterns. The first was a small zippered case (right, above) while the second was a simple pouch, manufactured of light canvas and sewn closed, to be torn open only in an emergency. The front was marked "First-Aid" in block letters between the ties. Surviving samples sometimes have a red cross painted over the First-Aid marking along with numbers, names or other stenciling applied by units or individuals.
The design was intended to be used by Airborne infantry attached to the camouflage net of their helmets. However, it was not often found there as many paratroopers rejected that look. It was rarely worn that way in Normandy, but the 101st in Holland during Market Garden were more likely to wear it on the helmet (top photo) as were the 17th "Thunder from Heaven" Airborne Division.
The photo to the left shows Maj. Gen. Wm. Miley, Commander, 17th Airborne Division, just prior to the launch of Operation Varsity, the last Allied airborne operation in Europe, dropped over the Rhine, 24 March 1945.
Contents of the Packet, First Aid, Parachute
The original packaging of the Packet, First Aid, Parachute included these items, one each:
A card was packed with the Parachute First Aid Kit containing the following instructions:
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