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Tag Archives: Defense Supply Agency

Dating US uniforms by contract codes, Part 2

Military Collectibles Wanted

Since the end of the Vietnam War, the United States has used two contract codes on clothing labels, which tell when each item was manufactured.

“DLA” numbers – for Defense Logistical Agency – were used from 1978 to 1993. Like its predecessor, the DSA (Defense Supply Agency), the DLA was responsible for all US uniform contracts for that 15-year period.

Typically the uniform label will begin with the name of the item, followed by either the materials used in the manufacture or the DLA contract code & ending with manufacturing company’s name. The code always begins with “DLA100″ followed by a hyphen & the two-digit year (78-93).

In 1994, the SPO, System Program Offices, took over the US uniform contracts. The SPO contract code is similar to the DLA in that it consists of a 6-character code followed by the two digit year. However, unlike the DLA code, the three characters following the SPO isn’t always “100″. It also can be an alphanumeric code of numbers & letters. But the two-digit date always follows the first hyphen. So, the first 8 characters of the code will look something like this: SPOxxx-01. That means the manufacture date is 2001.

The SPO contract code continues to be used in uniform labels today.

If you have a military item you would like to know more about, take a picture of it & email it to us or call our toll free  office. You never know what treasure might be hiding in that dusty footlocker.dlacodespocode


Dating US uniforms by contract codes, Part 1

Military Collectibles Wanted

One of the most important things US uniform collectors want to know is, when was it made? During World War II & the Korean Conflict, pattern & manufacture date was often indicated on the quartermaster label, found in an inside pocket or inkstamped into the uniform’s lining.

After Korea, the United States began including labels with contract date codes that can look like a random set of letters & numbers. However, those number codes can be deciphered if you know what you’re looking for & where to look for it.

In the post-Korean War era, the US used several different initials to denote the agency responsible for contracting military clothing. Those initials – “DA”, “DSA”, “DLA” & “SPO” – are the key to figuring out when the contract was granted for a particular item.

“DA” numbers, for Defense Agency, were used by the US from 1953-1961. Typically the code will start with DA, followed by a set of hyphenated numbers & letters. At the end of the code will be a two-digit number ranging from 53 to 61, which is the year of manufacture of that item.

“DSA” numbers – Defense Supply Agency – were used from 1962 to 1977. All contract numbers during this period start with the DSA prefix, followed by either “1″ or “100″. The number codes follow this pattern:

* 1962-1964 : DSA-1 followed by hyphen & two-digit year code (62-64).

* 1965: DSA-1 with no date.

* 1966: DSA-100 with no date.

* 1967-1977: DSA-100 followed by hyphen & two-digit year (67-77).

In Part 2 of this article, we’ll look at the “DLA” & “SPO” contract codes & how to read them.

da codedsa code2dsa code3If you have a military item you would like to know more about, take a picture of it & email it to us or call our toll free  office. You never know what treasure might be hiding in that dusty footlocker.