Here we are at the last stop on our look at US military field jackets. We finally reached field jacket apotheosis. The M-1965 field jacket . A true classic. The M65 replaced the M51 we looked at last time. It is very close to the same jacket generally but with several changes.
It is still the classic shade of OG-107 , has four pockets and a waist drawsting and is a dual zipper front with snap metal buttons like the M51.
The M65 came with a liner that is a lot like the poncho liner. It buttoned inside the jacket using the dark green BDU style buttons that lined the inside down the front, in the cuff at the end of the sleeves and two behind the neck. Is it warm? Meh. It works as long as the temp isn’t really cold. You still need to layer too much to be able to move and it only sheds water for a short time before being soaked. It’s best to remove the liner and wear the jacket on moderately cool days.
The cuff closes by velcro tabs. Unlike modern stuff or repro knock offs of the M65, the original velcro tabs last forever it seems. I have man, many of these and have worn many over the decades and have never had the velcro tabs hook and loop stop working.
One big change is the switch to the “stand up ” collar. It doesn’t present the nice neat military look as the M51 and M43 but it does have a rear zipper pocket for a built in hood. It also has button holes for attaching the older M51 hood or the extreme cold weather fur lined hood. The hood isn’t water proof and it’s thin but if you need it, it’s better than nothing. When not used, the hood stores inside between the jacket outer shell and the inside liner. Not the quilted liner, but the fabric of the jacket. The collar can be stood up and closed with another velcor tab.
The M65 became famous during Vietnam and after. It’s been in nearly every movie ever made, some of them featuring it as a signature bit of costume for main characters. Rambo in his first movie, the master piece The Exterminator, Terminator, Taxi Driver, Serpico, every 80s action movie ever made with a Vietnam vet. When I was a kid in the 80s. nothing was cooler than having a OD green M65 field jacket. Obviously I have never changed my mind on that simple fact of life.
There is better stuff now if you really want cold weather protection. The gortex stuff, the ECWCS GEN III stuff. Most any purpose made cold weather gear works better. But does it do it with the same zazz? Hell no it don’t.