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Thread: Altama bankrupcy.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rafael_T's Avatar
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    Default Altama bankrupcy.

    By a bizarre occurrence, I just found out that Altama is filing for Chapter 11. I also found out that Altama, Wellco, Mo-Ka, Massif and other companies all fall under the umbrella of Tactical Intermediate, and are all under Chapter 11.

    FYI

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Any company that developed the Jungle Boots I wore in Vietnam should be out of business. They took a horribly uncomfortable boot, stuck a metal plate inside and turned normal feet into lilly pads. If your feet weren't bad when you went in, these guaranteed that you'd have fucked up feet afterward.

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    Administrator ianp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    Any company that developed the Jungle Boots I wore in Vietnam should be out of business. They took a horribly uncomfortable boot, stuck a metal plate inside and turned normal feet into lilly pads. If your feet weren't bad when you went in, these guaranteed that you'd have fucked up feet afterward.
    Thankfully, an army marches on its stomach and not its feet!

    I have often wondered about the suitability and effectiveness of those boots. Every time I pick up a pair at the local outfitters, who seemingly do a roaring trade in them, I just shake my head and think 'I am not putting my feet in them'. I can see the light weight and the wide grip sole as being advantageous in damp, muddy conditions, but then you start looking at the disadvantages and I just keep repeating 'I am not putting my feet in them'.

    Did the guys in the field like them or did they prefer a full leather boot ?

    IAP
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    I didn't serve in Vietnam, too young but did serve from 1981-2001. Been in the field a lot on training and in DS2, Bosnia, somehow retired at the right time.

    I liked them as summer and fall boots despite the valid concerns. Took a lot of long walks and a few unimaginative runs with them.
    I wore the green versions in Ft Polk when we were still allowed to (we still had the red diamond on fatigues then too), the tan suede version in Desert Storm and again on the return engagement in 96, and the black versions many times up to 2001- In essence, when you HAVE to wear a boot, I preferred these. They were lighter, would wear out fast (most had cheap corfram molded-on soles and they did split open), but they dried faster and stayed pliable. Cheap enough to replace and you could wedge a second field pair into a small space. In the field, you KNOW you're going to get wet, dirty, smelly and tired, so you just prepare for it. No troop died from having extra socks. I used full length leather boots though, for winter, esp in Hohenfels, Graf and in Bosnia.
    Some fellow soldiers loved their corcorans/jump boots, they were more supportive and better than the issue boots, but some of those reasons were because you could spitshine the hell out of them. Once spitshined, though, the only field those boots saw was mowing the grass in the Battalion area. Somehow that didn't work out well as a plus in the field. I understand they changed to non-black boots since I left service anyway.

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    They were built to last. They didn't rot like everything else (including us). The nylon uppers would eventually dry out after a walk in the mud. They had cloth impregnated sectioned metal plates that went into the boot before your foot, kind of like a Dr, Scholl's insert. These worked well when stepping on something sharp or a booby trap, but they played hell with your foot. Imagine a pair of stainless steel flip flops and you are getting close. I was drafted and had two other pairs of leather boots, but rarely wore either. It was like jungle fatigues, if you could get them in 1966 you wore them a lot because they were thin and comfortable in the heat. Some guys just wore stateside fatigues and boots whatever. It was all about the heat. The sun actually hurt when you were standing in it. You sought shade whenever it was found. After about 3-4 months you had lost any remaining fat and had started in on your muscle. This helped you tolerate the heat. I actually didn't want to eat at all and the water was so bad and full of clorox, that you had real trouble drinking what you should. On my first day there in Camp Alpha, I stood in line for 20 minutes to have the guy in front hand me a falling apart paper cup and get a drink out of a lister bag full of 90 degree green clorox water.

    The jungle boot did this; I wore an 11 1/2 R shoe when I was drafted, when I got out 22 months later I wore a 12W.

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    Default The Altamas were very comfortable.

    Wore a pair on concrete at a moonlighting job from 2003-2013. Never wore them for where they were intended though. The Canadian Hot Weather Boot looked just like the U.S. version. thought they were great too. Nothing beats Danners though. Still have 5 very well used pairs (FT. Lewis, Olympic, Combat Hiker & Blackhawk X 2).



    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    They were built to last. They didn't rot like everything else (including us). The nylon uppers would eventually dry out after a walk in the mud. They had cloth impregnated sectioned metal plates that went into the boot before your foot, kind of like a Dr, Scholl's insert. These worked well when stepping on something sharp or a booby trap, but they played hell with your foot. Imagine a pair of stainless steel flip flops and you are getting close. I was drafted and had two other pairs of leather boots, but rarely wore either. It was like jungle fatigues, if you could get them in 1966 you wore them a lot because they were thin and comfortable in the heat. Some guys just wore stateside fatigues and boots whatever. It was all about the heat. The sun actually hurt when you were standing in it. You sought shade whenever it was found. After about 3-4 months you had lost any remaining fat and had started in on your muscle. This helped you tolerate the heat. I actually didn't want to eat at all and the water was so bad and full of clorox, that you had real trouble drinking what you should. On my first day there in Camp Alpha, I stood in line for 20 minutes to have the guy in front hand me a falling apart paper cup and get a drink out of a lister bag full of 90 degree green clorox water.

    The jungle boot did this; I wore an 11 1/2 R shoe when I was drafted, when I got out 22 months later I wore a 12W.

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    Any company that developed the Jungle Boots I wore in Vietnam should be out of business. They took a horribly uncomfortable boot, stuck a metal plate inside and turned normal feet into lilly pads. If your feet weren't bad when you went in, these guaranteed that you'd have fucked up feet afterward.
    Altama did not develop jungle boots. They were the work of the US Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center.

    Natick Labs is still going strong and shows littl esigns of failing...

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    True,

    But they were very comfortable.
    Ended up selling them to a fellow MWRine & ex-U.S. Marine in NY State, along with some other used Jungle Boots.
    He liked the Altamas too.

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    Wonder why Alatama went tits up.
    Thought they would have lots of juicy contracts with the DOD.

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Morritt View Post
    Wonder why Alatama went tits up.
    Thought they would have lots of juicy contracts with the DOD.
    Their primary lines were the "Boots, Hot Weather" MIL-B-43254, Type I and Type II.... They did not seem to get any of the new ACB, TW/HW or MCCB TW/HW boots contracts, which replaced the old Jungle/Desert boots.

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    Default Too bad......

    Quote Originally Posted by lysander View Post
    Their primary lines were the "Boots, Hot Weather" MIL-B-43254, Type I and Type II.... They did not seem to get any of the new ACB, TW/HW or MCCB TW/HW boots contracts, which replaced the old Jungle/Desert boots.
    They made decent boots, at least from my experience.

  12. #12
    Administrator ianp's Avatar
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    Talked to a Vietnam vet on Friday and we briefly discussed the conditions - rotting leather boots in a matter of months; being a general nuisance - self-adhesive envelopes bought at the PX gumming themselves down and coloured pencil tips going soft. He got his first pair of jungle boots from someone heading out of country and had an overall good experience with them - dried well, didn't rot and grip didn't gum up with mud. He recalls thick nylon insoles and not metal.

    He experienced the disposable plastic watches (stopped working after a few months) as well as the metal bodied watches (sweat and humidity incursion after a few months), but no experience of the Benrus Type I/II watches.

    Super nice guy. I'm sure he has one thousand and one tales of interest.

    IAP
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  13. #13
    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    The insoles could be mistaken for nylon easily. They were not a single piece of metal but several sections bonded with some heavy cloth or nylon material. They went into the boot like a Dr Scholl's insert. A lot of guys didn't use them or have them. The boots were not an automatic issue item early on. Same with jungle fatigues, some guys just wore the leather boots and stateside clothing they brought with them. Most of my jungle fatigues were worn by an LT prior to my getting them. I used to get salutes because the image of the bars was still visible on the collar (not faded) and we didn't wear rank on most of our clothes. This was very helpful when we would go on food theft excursions down at Cam Rahn. The people in charge thought I was an LT and usually let me have what I wanted without too much fuss. A case of club soda or chocolate milk would help us a lot. The genuine officers would pay dearly for that soda.

    Our camp laundry was run by an ex-Viet Minh officer. I used to play baccarat with him and give him cigarettes and I had the best and most laundry in camp. He used to wear an old French bush hat and blew an old Viet Minh bugle. He acted crazy, always goofing around, but he was up to his ass in the VC. He used to tell me exactly when the VC would attack the camp "VC come tonight", He was never wrong.

  14. #14
    Administrator ianp's Avatar
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    The vet I talked to was an early arrival and he mentioned the lack of kit early on. I did somewhat hijack this thread with my questioning the boot, but it seems that it was a piece of kit that was generally liked by those that used it, with the possible exception of the insoles.

    I recently received the Bluray versions of Battlefield Vietnam, which for me is the best documentary series on the Vietnam War. As good as a documentary TV series can be, it is the memories and stories of people like you and the others who were the 'boots on the ground' that make for the best histories. Keep those stories coming.

    IAP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Morritt View Post
    True,

    But they were very comfortable.
    Ended up selling them to a fellow MWRine & ex-U.S. Marine in NY State, along with some other used Jungle Boots.
    He liked the Altamas too.
    Ha ha, my sons stole 'them - I never got to wear 'em

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    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Jungle boots had two types of "spike resistant" capability.

    The early boots had a steel insert that was placed in the boots as an insert. This was replaced later on with a steel sheet molded directly into the sole, and the insert was just a mesh ventilation insert (which was what was originally used prior to the introduction of the steel insert). I think, but don't quote me, the switch to the molded-in steel plate was when the "Panama" sole introduced.

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