Mister Freedom® Oki Cover.
Recycled from 1940’s USMC ponchos.
Sportsman 2015, made in USA.
Recycling is green but the MF® Oki Cover comes in frogskin camo.
The name “Oki” is a reference to Okinawa, the home of the Counter Insurgency Support Office for a while, as we already mentioned while introducing the MF® Experimental Camouflage Utility Trousers during Spring 2015. To pretentiously quote ourselves, here is a bit of that interesting slice of History again:
“…To more efficiently handle logistics, the highly-classified Counter Insurgency Support Office is established on the island of Okinawa, Japan in 1963. Headed by a mysterious individual working for the Department of Army by the name of Conrad Benjamin Baker, CISO was “assigned the mission of supporting the Special Forces programs through triservice depots and local procurement sources (…) Many items of clothing and equipment, for example, had to be obtained from markets in other countries because of size problems, composition of material, and equipment which had to be tailored to Montagnard measurements.” (source)
CISO acquired or produced ‘sterile’ (untraceable if captured) weapons, along with unmarked clothing and equipment to outfit US Special Forces or advisors heading out to South Vietnam. Locally screen-printed tiger stripe camo fatigues, “bowie” knives, VC-style black pajamas, rations, machetes, Seiko watches for recon teams, black 1-0rain jackets, North Vietnamese Army-inspired rucksacks…
Basically, if it proved needed in the field, CISO sourced it out in Asia, or designed it and manufactured it locally. At a fraction of the price compared to US-made mil-specs issued gear, and quicker delivery than its state-side bureaucracy-laden official channel alternative. What exactly went on is not well documented, but Ben Baker’s account of his involvement in the original design and R&D of the famous SOG knife is available for download in pdf form here…”
In the tradition of local-made garments using recycled Government-issued equipment and fabrics, we have decided to ‘sacrifice’ a few NOS WW2 USMC ponchos scored recently to make some hats. These un-issued shelter halves are authentic and originate from different military contractors of the period. They were still craft paper-wrapped and stored in talc powder. They are all dated 1944.
Originally, these ponchos were mainly issued to GI’s in the Pacific theater of operations (PTO), as the frogskin camo pattern proved too close to the German’s variety of field concealment to avoid confusion in Europe (ETO). From Tarawa to Iwo Jima, island-hoping Marines made good use of these reversible rubberized canvas shelter halves, also turning them into floor mats, blankets, tents… Rarely pictured worn in combat situation probably due to obvious impracticability, these ponchos can still be spotted on period photography of the Pacific War.
The pattern of our Oki Cover is of a generic engineer cap type, a cross between the Choo Choo Charlie hat and a 40’s UMSC cover. Our cap is pretty much reversible, and can be worn jungle side out or beach side out, although, for those understandingly allergic to branding, the green camo side features the MF® sportsman woven label.
DISCLAIMER: This NOS rubberized canvas fabric, although thin, feels quite stiff and starched, making crinkly noises even after being thoroughly washed. For argument sake, it can be said that once sitting on top of you head and shaped to your liking, the MF® Oki Cover should remain quiet if your hair grows less than a foot per day.
One can also look at the Oki Cover as a low-tech noise canceling hat.
The very limited MF® Oki Cover is made in California by Mister Freedom®, from recycled 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos.
Also featured in the photos is the MF® Jump Scarf, recycled from authentic vintage 1950’s US military spot camouflage canopies.
Credits: Some historical references courtesy of this US Militaria Forum thread.
Recycled NOS 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos, original US Government issue, dated 1944. This batch of rubberized fabric is quite stiff and noisy. Each cap was washed thoroughly after completion and the fabric feels like dry fabric and not rubber.
We do not guarantee the waterproof quality of the fabric anymore, but applying some type of weatherproof fabric dressing might help, and prove more productive than suing the original 1944 contractor. We have yet to test, but the wax might also help with the crinkling noise.
Due to the nature of this 70 year-old vintage fabric, each hat might show wear from washing and abrasion, and feature tiny holes and minor fraying.
* Engineer cap-type pattern.
* Low-tech noise canceling technology.
* Limited Edition.
* Made in USA.
The Oki Covers come thoroughly washed and machine dried. No further shrinkage is to be expected.
They are sized by measuring the headband in centimeters. The sizing is discreetly stamped in black on the jungle side.
Hand wash when needed. Shape and hang dry.
Available washed only.
Soon available from www.misterfreedom.com, and from our Los Angeles brick & mortar store.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,