Blog 12/03/2020 - Deployment Military Baggage
MHT Blog December 3, 2020 - Deployment – Baggage
The B-4 – Valpak Bids Farewell
Cleaning out the back room my lovely wife asked the question if we really needed this dusty old suitcase. It struck me how many places my Valpak had been, Okinawa, Guam, Mt. Fuji, Panama, Norway and all over the Medeterrainian. I was lucky to get one being tight with the Supply Officer in 5th Battalion, 10th Marines and so I decided to check out the Valpak history but found it is a massive coupon company now.
I did find that before the adoption of the B-4 bag what the Valpak is called in the U.S. Army and the WWII Army Air Force officers had to buy their own suitcases commercially. The Military Issued Garment Travel Case, sometimes called “the 2 suiter” features the one large internal compartment and two outer side pouches. Originally canvas in the Valpak era it was more plastic but both with leather handle. Made by numerous manufactures for the government including Hinson Manufacturing Company, Knight Leather Products Company and Canvas Products Corporation and two had the same DWG Number 40K3719.
Here are some WWII examples:
The WWII USMC Uniform Suit Luggage Bag was issued to J.G. Abdoo who got good use in the Corps from 1942 to 1972.
The U.S. Army Air Corps B-4 garment/flight bag was issued to S/Sgt R.N. Schade as a tail gunner with the 429th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force in England. He was on his 13th mission with the B-17G "Dollar 98” heading for Vienna, Austria when it was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire on February 21, 1945. Schade survived and spent the remainder of the war as a POW at Stalag Luft VIIA near the town of Moosburg in southern Germany.
U.S. Army B-4 was used by W.J. Murray with the 623rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron on Okinawa, Japan in 1949. The bag is decorated with a hand painted dragon.
The B-4 is in many WWII movies here are two: Clooney and Damon in “Monuments Men” & Beckinsale and Hartnett in “Pearl Harbor.”
The B-4/Valpak’s day has passed with the advent of MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) technology and rolling Loadout Bags.