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U.S. Army, Desert Camouflage Uniform, to a 101st Airborne Division Brigadier General, named Mitchel M. "Mick" Zais, Ph.D
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Description
 

This uniform is 1990 dated. It belonged to a U.S. Army, Airborne, Brigadier General named: "Mitchel M. "Mick" Zais", who also held a Ph.D. This uniform is a U.S. Army, desert camouflage pattern uniform jacket with its matching camouflage trousers. General Zais served in several infantry units in Vietnam and in Korea. His commands included 2 Rifle Companies, an Infantry Battalion, a Light Infantry Brigade, and as the Deputy Commanding General of Fort Riley, KS. Dr. Zais also was the Pentagon's Chief of War Plans. In addition, he was also an Assistant Professor at West Point. Dr. Zais also served in Panama, and then in Kuwait as the Commanding General of U.S. and Allied Forces. Zais also participated in the Kosovo Task Force. General Zais was also nominated by President Trump to be the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. During his long military career Zais became a parachutist and a ranger.

As for the details of his uniform, there is an internal sewed in tag that reads: "COAT, HOT WEATHER, DESERT CAMOUFLAGE PATTERN (3 COLOR); COMBAT", and then "100% COTTON". The condition of this uniform appears to be in near mint condition, with no noticeable damage, other than that it has been heavily starched during dry cleaning, if that counts to anyone. Each upper collar lapel has the machine sewed on desert color insignia of a Brigadier General (i.e.: a 1 Star General). These General's stars are of the standard golden-brown color and are direct embroidered on a dark tan base material, as used on all U.S. Army desert uniforms. On the underside of the collar these stars show their thickness imprint on the back cloth indicating that they were sewn on there for quite some time.

On the pockets and front closure edge, the sewn on buttons are the standard tan-ish green, bevealed plastic types. The buttons appear to be all matching, of the 4-hole type, and have been sewn on with standard gauge tan thread, with no buttons showing any replacement. Like on all well worn camouflage utility type uniforms, the buttons left an imprint "shadow" on the exterior pocket flaps, and on the front closure flap. This indicates many pressings over a long time. Found sewn just above the top right pocket flap is a tan base cloth name tape, with usual golden-brown, direct embroidered on lettering. This lettering has been machine sewn on with standard gauge tan thread, and with the name of: "ZAIS" directly embroidered on its face. All of the lettering shows its imprint on the backside of the uniform indicating their placement there for an extended period of time.

Sewn just above the top left pocket flap is the standard 'U.S. ARMY" cloth tape, which matches the name tape in both colors, thread type, material type, and backside imprint. Machine sewn just above the U.S. ARMY tape is a small, rectangular shape, tan color base material, cloth patch for the award of a "Basic Parachutist Badge". This patch matches in all ways in color, material, thread, etc. of the name tape, and also to the U.S. ARMY tape. There is another rectangular shape, matching, cloth patch for the award of the "Combat Infantryman's Badge". This patch matches the color, material, thread, etc. of the 2 tapes mentioned above.

As for the upper right sleeve, there is a matching, cloth, arc shape patch for "AIRBORNE" service, which is machine sewn just above a shield shape, desert tan color patch for combat service in the 101st Airborne Division (the "Screaming Eagles"). As above, they both match in color, material, and thread to all of the above mentioned patches. Found sewn just below the 101st Airborne Division patch is a correctly reversed, 4-color, American Flag patch that is also machine sewn on. All of the insignia found sewn on the right sleeve show their reverse side imprints indicating that they were sewn on at that location for quite some time. These imprints are a good indicator of originality.

Moving on to the upper left sleeve, the top most cloth patch is an arc shape patch that exactly matches the AIRBORNE patch in all ways. Sewn just below that is a caltrop shape cloth patch for current service in the III Corps. Both of these patches show good reverse side imprints that match all the other insignia found on this uniform. The last exterior feature(s) that are found on this uniform are that both sleeve cuffs have the usual, and correct, closure flaps with multiple closure buttons utilized, the same as found in the waist line area. As is also correct, each elbow area is double cloth reinforced.

As for the interior of this uniform, it is quite standard in all respects. It is in beautiful condition. There is a cloth tag that is machine sewn in the collar area that reads: "MEDIUM-REGULAR", etc., which is a common feature. But there is a pleasant surprise found inked in the inside collar area. Black ink, magic-marker-ed in the inside collar area is a rather large "Z-7278" inking imprint, which is correct for the name of Zais. The single capital letter and following 4 digits are the last name initial and last 4 numerals of Zais' serial number. This lettering and 4 digit numbering code system dates all the way back to the World War Two days, and is a really great identifier to accurately identify just who the soldier's name is. Such a inking practice is really great to find inside a General Officer's uniform as this practice is rarely found inked inside a General Officer uniform. This is because Generals did not usually have their uniforms laundered mixed in "en-mass" with other soldier's uniforms. Most other rank soldiers washed their uniforms in great bulk, thus necessitating that inking practice which helped to identify just whose uniform belonged to who for post washing retrieval.

The last interior feature is a rectangular shape, tan cloth material patch that matches the above mentioned sizing tag in all ways. It reads: "COAT, HOT WEATHER, DESERT CAMOUFLAGE PATTERN (3 COLOR); COMBAT", with "100% COTTON" found below that, and then lower on down: "DLA100-90-0349", which means that this uniform was contracted for in 1990.

We next move on to the trousers. To save time and space here, suffice it to say they match in every detail the above mentioned uniform, including condition (and starch!). The only deviation is that the trousers 2 internal cloth tags are milk chocolate brown in color, and not the tan color found in the uniform jacket. The name of manufacturer for the trousers is different from that of the uniform jacket, and that is all. There is also the very desirable, large size "Z-7278", single letter and 4 digits imprint nicely inked inside the waist line area of the trousers, and which exactly match that found inside the uniform in font and color. This is another great "plus" for verifying authenticity for this uniform grouping. To help complete this uniform the museum has added 8 pages of General Zais' background information.

Comments from the Curator:

Modern chocolate chip camouflage uniforms are common these days, but General Officer uniforms are not. To prove that contention, of the over 382 General Officer uniforms that this Tank Museum has in its collection, less than 5 are of the modern desert camouflage pattern. Such is their great rarity, hard to believe as it may be for some. Since this named General Officers uniform grouping belonged to a very desirable Airborne Division, Brigade Commander, its great rarity can be appreciated, being modern vintage notwithstanding. If Dr. Zais were an Armor Officer, this grouping would already be on display at this museum. But since this museum does not collect Airborne uniforms, even though Airborne uniforms are equally, if not more desirable than Armor officers these days, we pass the good fortune on to another collector. Sometimes something that is of "modern" vintage can often be just as rare, desirable, and valuable as for the usual older items encountered. Thus an experienced collector can understand the great rarity of this named and authenticated, General Officer's uniform grouping offered at a very fair price.


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