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US Military Jockstraps: My attempted chronology:

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
I am unaware of any well researched essay on the evolution or history of jockstraps in the US military. There is scattered information found in some books on military history. I recall some academic mention of the subject in my undergrad courses toward pursuit of my education degree (Physical Education). There are tidbits of information scattered around the internet, in such places as Alt. Support jockstrap and at the Allkink site. I heard a lot of "scuttlebutt" about military jocks when I was a marketing representative making institutional sales of Bike Athletic products, but have honestly forgotten most of the enlightenment. Certainly the information already shared in this forum is probably the most accurate I have seen so far. I haven't researched the topic in any way comparable to the presentations JSMike has related, but in the next few postings I will try to sort out the history to the best of my limited knowledge. A lot of my comments will probably be a bit thin on accuracy, so JS Mike (or anyone else), please step in and offer corrections or additional info. And rest assured, after perusing my essays, you still will not have read a well researched paper on the evolution and history of jockstraps in the US military. Bob
 

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
Earlier this year we discussed the Army and Navy Suspensory, which was no doubt the predecessor of the modern jockstrap. We assume it had significant military application on basis of it's name alone. While its initial use was apparently to assist mounted Cavalry soldiers separate their "nads" from continues impact with saddles, it can assumed that few sailors rode horses on ships. Were they worn in physical training? Were they worn in combat? We haven't found the answers yet. It is established that the military still stocked suspensorys leading up to WW II
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
The use of jockstraps as the prevalent athletic undergarment became very pronounced starting in the 1930's. The construction boom following the depression resulted in new schools and gymnasiums being constructed. Single gender locker rooms and PE programs encouraged "physical education uniforms", and in no doubt the vast majority of schools boys and men found athletic supporters to be the prescribed undergarment. This made a lot of sense, since briefs had not yet taken the place of boxer shorts. JSMike previously posted this image of a Foster Brothers jockstrap, circa 1935. The package and label certainly appear to be military issue, so I conclude that the Army was issuing jocks in the 1930's. Whether they were for Physical Training only, or for more general use, I don't know.
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
The training and combat of World War II, no doubt provided every soldier with an issued jockstrap. The first photo showed a Navy pre-flight school cadet posing in his jockstrap for a fitness photo. These images were not to be confused with the nude Ivy League college posture photos which were taken of incoming freshmen students, as the Navy photos were repeated on a regular basis to demonstrate the physique improvements resulting from their physical training programs. The Kenan Stadium photo showed these cadets doing some PT. (The showers must have been crowded when they returned to the locker room). As a side note, the jockstraps appeared to be "BUB" jocks, the top of the line from Flaherty Co. Note the anti-curl keeper in the waistband, assuring continued support after extended wearing sessions.

The enlisted men received more simple, and no doubt less expensive jockstraps. The Keystone and Martin jocks were just some of many manufacturers pressed into service to "support our troops". While the soldiers no doubt wore their jocks during basic training PT, it is probable that many jocks were worn in combat. The paratroopers were first in line to receive jocks, and this made sense because it was certainly necessary to keep the "plums" out of the way of the parachute harness crotch straps. Upon landing behind enemy lines, a paratrooper would probably not have had adequate time to exchange his jockstrap for boxer shorts, so it would seem likely that jockstraps were the "fashion de jour" until defense positions could be established, a process that no doubt could take several days.

As was previously posted by JSMike, the necessity to ration critical material for the war effort meant that civilian jockstraps had to be re-designed to be woven without rubber. From what I have read, the GI jockstrap was still constructed with the original rubber content
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
I can relate the Vietnam War military jockstrap information with more certainty as I was "employed" by the US Army for 1 year, 11 months and 4 days. Fortunately, the war was nearly over when I was drafted, and even though by MOS was 11-Bravo (combat infantry) I never left US turf.
In basic training I was not issued a jock. To the contrary, for basic I was issued 4 pairs of one size fits all olive drab boxer shorts. Having worn a jock since junior high and recently through my PE student teaching I felt it actually uncomfortable marching and doing PT with my sacks flopping against my thighs, and like many in my platoon I took advice of my Drill Sgt. and bought a couple of jocks at the PX. These were Bike #10, but lacked the wheel on the waistband. Can't say I wore jocks every day, but they came in handy during combatives, obstacle course training, and long ruck marches. PT and marching could get miserable on warm days wearing long sleeve BDU shirts, trousers and heavy combat boots.

The temporary discomfort of a few weeks of basic training and AIT training had no comparison with the misery of combat infantry duty in Vietnam. Most every library will contain volumes of books with veterans (survivors) reporting their experiences. In many cases platoons would be inserted into the jungle areas by helicopter for patrols which would last days, weeks and even over a month. In addition to fighting, "humping the boonies" meant soldiers traveled on foot burdened with weapons, ammo belts, a 40 lb. ruck pack, often in constant jungle heat with seldom a breeze. The clothes they deployed in is what they wore for the entire period. There was no laundry service, and with luck a creek or pond adjacent to a night muster post provided the only means to rinse out the sweat (and other stuff) soaked uniform. Underwear became a real problem. Boxers and sweaty briefs didn't cut it. Most wore nothing, but in the heat even those considered shortchanged in dangling man parts experienced the same issues as those blessed (or plagued) with (low hangers). Accordingly, many infantry grunts chose to wear jocks. Overnight, they could be rinsed out in a creek or pond, hung on a limb of tent rope and by morning would be dry enough for the next day patrol. For that reason the quartermaster had ready supply of jockstraps available for the needs of the grunts.
 
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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
To my knowledge the Navy did not issue jockstraps, nor were they commonly worn by the swabbies. Enlistees in the Air Force all we trained at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, and their physical training differed little from school PE classes. They were issued military specification jockstraps, labeled Class 1, Type 1, and to my knowledge wore gym shoes, shorts and tee shirts rather than the burdensome BDU's and boots I endured. I suspect the Class1, Type 1 jock was the same as issued to WWII soldiers.
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
Probably a sidebar, mostly lost in history, but the BUB #61 jockstrap, previously issued to WWII Navy pre-flight school cadets made an encore appearance during the Vietnam War draft. After the the TET offensive, the Army found itself in dire need of replacement infantry troops. Enlistments were down, and Selective Service could not deliver adequate number of draftees. The Pentagon instituted a program called P-100,000 designed by Sec. of Defense Robt. McNamera. What it basically involved was eliminating all height, weight and most mental standards which had previously disqualified potential draftees. The Pentagon felt that if the Viet Cong could have 80 lb. couriers carry 100 lb. bags of rice, or other military assets hundreds of miles on their backs, the Army should be able to toughen up some 90 lb. weaklings to be combat soldiers. The whole concept failed, as the basic training drill Sgts. spend so much time on the physically unqualified draftees, they couldn't get the remainder of their platoons ready for graduation on schedule . The solution of the Army was to establish special physical training programs at several recruit bases to "toughen up" these special draftees before they were assigned to a basic training company. This occurred when I was completing my senior year in college, and the professors were quite opinionated that the Army method of exercise overload was entirely the wrong thing to do.

Among several other special training units, the Army sent overweight draftees to Ft. Polk in Louisiana, the mental problem draftees went to Ft. Knox and the small and feeble draftees were sent to a company at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo, the location where I would do basic two years later. I was more informed about this training program for small draftees as my roommate was researching the program for his masters thesis, but was refused access by the Army to personally observe the special training company. Manpower needs meant that a good many of these small draftees would be assigned to combat infantry, so the Army took some drastic measures to put enough meat on their bones tht they would have a fighting chance to survive in combat, and not endanger other troops. For this reason the Army program was nicknamed "Operation Runts into Grunts" The special draftees did physical training all day, 6 days a week. They were literally exercised until they collapsed, then attended by medics on site whose job it was to see how quickly they could get them back into formation doing more PT.

The Army figured they needed jockstraps and each draftee was issued three jocks, one to wear, one to wash in the barracks washing machine and one to dry hanging on the bedpost of their bunks. I don't know all the details, but the quartermaster command knowing that they needed heavy duty jocks for all day wearing apparently went to Chicago and St. Louis and purchased all remaining stock of small BUB jocks for the recruits.

Some of these special recruits had been home schooled, or attended private religious schools and had never beeen in a physical education class, or for that matter never worn a jockstrap before. The BUB jocks were serious jockstraps, which held the "man parts" of each recruit firmly in place all day, so I am sure some of these recruits found their "jock training" to be almost as challenging as their abusive physical training.
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
JSMike wrote that the Marine Corps contracted with BIKE for the regular production #10 jocks, adorned with USMC labels in 1960. The Marine Corps issued jocks during basic training and it was my understanding that the Bike #10, with USMC labels were still produced during most of the Vietnam War. That said, probably some discussion is appropriate about the Size Small jock shown. The Bike #10 small jock was intended for 26" to 32" waist. This was the most common size for Junior High PE students. I can't imagine there were that many men who enlisted in the Marine Corps who had physique to wear a small jockstrap. That said, the Marine Corps also received draftees, including those who were conscripted under the special draft program I previously described. Although technically civilian, the military induction centers were run by Army personnel and there are stories I've seen in Military blogs, that Army medics were known to select a small, frail and scared draftee and send him to the Marines just to watch his reaction when he was told to put his clothes back on and report to the Gunny Sgt. who I am sure was equally delighted to haul him to San Diego or Parris Island for basic training.

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Photo credit: @Mark2012
Here's a link to the original photo: https://yourjockstraps.com/index.php?media/vintage-u-s-m-c-10-bike-jock-strap.5721
 

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CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan

I previously posted this story I found in the Alt Support Jockstrap blog. This was probably Vietnam War era. Just for some context, all male students at land grant colleges were required to participate in two years of ROTC training. It could be Army, Air Force or Navy. There were no physical exams required, and in addition to classroom indoctrination, most of the emphasis was on grooming, i.e. haircuts, shaving and keeping your uniform brass and boots polished and uniform gig lines straight. The only physical demands were marching on the drill field, more marching and occasional push-ups to work off demerits. After completing the required two years of compulsory ROTC training, those qualified and willing could enter scholarship advanced ROTC and upon completing the program, and a summer training unit (like OCS) they were awarded officer commissions upon graduation. I didn't chose to go advanced, as I didn't think being a second a second lientenant, probably assigned to infantry in Vietnam was much of a graduation present. Those entering the advanced program had to pass a military physical exam, and I suppose they were told to wear jockstraps to the MEPS merely to show how gung-ho they were about becoming officers.

Schmi...@webtv.net

unread,
Jul 8, 2002, 5:36:16 PM


to
When I reported for my first draft board physical exam ( I suppose this
is sort of like a doctor visit) there was this group of perhaps 12
cadets being examined for their school ROTC program. Every one of them
were wearing what appeared to be identical jockstraps.
Now the other 200 or so of us spent the day prancing around in just
common, ordinary white briefs.
When it came time for the orthopaedic exercise station, they were
ordered to remove their jocks, and join the rest of us for some nude
calisthenics. It just seemed strange that jockstraps which were
intended for support during strenuous activity had to be removed during
he only exercise activity of the day!
 

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
I'll conclude this rambling with brief comments about military jockstraps in the 21st century.

I've read several stories reqarding barracks decorum for Air Force ROTC cadets, during their summer training unit. As with most officer training programs, jocks were not issued but brought as part of required uniform and supplies. I am not sure how many jockstraps were required, but one had to be folded and properly displayed in the underwear drawer at all times. It was not permissible to put soiled sweaty jocks in the laundry bag, but rather they had to be hung on a clothes hanger in a specified manner, and all hangers had to be exactly evenly spaced, with the label facing the designated direction. Inspections were frequently performed by female officers.

I don't know if jockstraps are presently required in the military. Until recent years, I've noticed on-line postings for basic Army and National Guard training indicating male trainees were required to bring 2 jockstraps.

Finally to quote my mentor, Bugs Bunny "Thats all folks"
 

Redsucked02

More in my albums!
I'll conclude this rambling with brief comments about military jockstraps in the 21st century.

I've read several stories reqarding barracks decorum for Air Force ROTC cadets, during their summer training unit. As with most officer training programs, jocks were not issued but brought as part of required uniform and supplies. I am not sure how many jockstraps were required, but one had to be folded and properly displayed in the underwear drawer at all times. It was not permissible to put soiled sweaty jocks in the laundry bag, but rather they had to be hung on a clothes hanger in a specified manner, and all hangers had to be exactly evenly spaced, with the label facing the designated direction. Inspections were frequently performed by female officers.

I don't know if jockstraps are presently required in the military. Until recent years, I've noticed on-line postings for basic Army and National Guard training indicating male trainees were required to bring 2 jockstraps.

Finally to quote my mentor, Bugs Bunny "Thats all folks"
Magnificent job you've done! Thank you so very much! Riveting and informative! The photos were awesome!
I'd love to get a U.S.M.C. official jockstrap!
 

JockMe

Jockstrap Fan
Guys out in the boondocks humping their gear in the tropical heat did not wear jocks.

In that environment a jock would be the quickest way to get chafing and a nasty case of jock itch or worse.
 
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