Description: This military-issue harness was standard gear for U. S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. The straps were worn over the shoulders and the numerous pockets and straps held all manner of equipment: bandages, flashlight, ammunition, smoke grenades, compass, strobe light, army knife, hand grenades, canteen, and even a poncho for the miserable Southeast Asian rains. The whole Siouxland area lost over 70 soldiers in Vietnam, and almost 30 of those were from Sioux City. Two units from the Iowa Air National Guard were mobilized in 1968 to active duty during the conflict, the 185th Tactical Fighter Group and the 174th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The 174th flew over 6,000 combat missions and received two national honors: the Presidential Unit Citation and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. This harness originally belonged to Major James (Jim) Lalley, who eventually rose to the rank of colonel during his service. Lalley served in Korea as well as in Vietnam, and even after he was sent home in 1969 he became involved in investigating and hearing complaints from guardsmen during an FBI investigation into one of their generals. He retired from service in 1985 but was recalled to serve in the first Gulf War. Today Lalley is an avid history buff, and he is a close friend of both the Sioux City Public Museum and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
Donor: James E. Lalley