Packaging used for military issue?

Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by citytransplant, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. citytransplant


    Apr 12, 2008
    Having never served in the US Armed Forces or visited a PX, I'm curious to know how (specifically) Camillus knives, like the electrician knife a/k/a TL-29, the "demo" a/k/a MIL-K, and the Pilots knife, were packaged, both at time of issue to those in service as well as those sold in the PX? Does anyone know, or care to venture a guess?
  2. wazu013


    Dec 14, 2011
    Not my knives! I found these pics on a military forum.
  3. sac troop

    sac troop

    Mar 4, 2009
    Here's the last photo:


    GS09S42296 is a "contract/order number". I've been told that these numbers starting with "GS" stand for "General Services", the same person told me that General Services indicates that it was a PX/BX item or otherwise known as AAFES, which operates mostly completely independent of "GSA", General Service Administration.
    In trying to get a handle on the military procurement and supply system, I've found it to be problematic. What is true at anyone point in time and space doesn't often transfer over to a different one. It's a system that is always changing. Policy, practices, and even the rules, and agencies involved seem to be always in flux.
  4. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    This wiki page

    has some info on deciphering the FSN/NSN/NIIN codes found on packaging as well as a little history about when certain designations came into use - e.g., FSN >> 1953 to 1974, NSN >> 1974 to present

    The GS numbers are numbers assigned by the GSA to products purchased from commercial sources to be made available to the governmental organizations (DoD, USPS, USDA, etc) that use the NSN system to purchase supplies. These GSA purchased items may only be available in the system for a short time. Assigning "real" NSNs to them would create a logistical nightmare. The way the GS handles these "temporary products" is to create the GS system for ordering these items.

    Take the Camillus made pilot's knife above -

    The date 10/83 tells us it is after Camillus lost the contract for producing these for the NSN system. People still wanted them, Camillus still had them in stock and could make more, and wanted to sell them through the PX/BX/AAFES system. So the GSA assigned a GS number to an item that just a few months before would have been sporting an NSN. In fact, in this example, the only thing Camillus had to do was change the NSN line on the bag printer to the GS number.

    The GSA simply adds a GS followed by an Item Category Code to the Company Part Number of the item in question.

    The GS tells us it is a GS product, available through the GSA catalog system. The "09S" is the category type for "knife". The 42296 was Camillus' own part number for the knife.
  5. sac troop

    sac troop

    Mar 4, 2009
    The Camillus part number for these knives is "5733".
    The date of 10/83 places this package date as at about a year before the cancellation of the Government contracts for these knives from Camillus. There is some discussion as to whether or not the Government continued to take receipt of these knives into the first quarter of 1985. (Sourced from Tom Williams).
    Yes AAFES did continue to order these from Camillus for PX/BX sales years after the contract cancellation.
    MIL-K-8662 E printed on the package is the Government specification the manufactures follow in producing this knife. The MIL-K number and NSN number are often referenced to each other in Government documents.

    I can't get comfortable with your explanation of the CS number. First the example knife; Jet Pilots Survival knife, MIL-K-8662, Camillus part number 5733, what ever label we want to use for it, was created as a joint effort by the U.S. Navy and the Marble's Knife company. The initial Mil-K number and FSN number were assigned to it before they went into production. There are CS coded numbers appearing with some JPSK's dated at least as far back as Dec, 1969, possibly before that. there are other examples with date codes between 1969 and 1983 where there is no CS number present where other example have them.
  6. 300Bucks

    300Bucks Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    I ordered items for my small unit of USDI, including knives and multi-tools, out of a GSA catalog using the NSN number under the bar code shown on the plastic package. That is up till 2008. In rural areas at small stations in the boondocks we ordered barbed wire, fence posts, brooms, toilet seats and tools of all kinds using the NSN numbers. At one time the catalogs were 2 inches thick. I started on paper forms and ended on computer....I even ordered one of the knives shown above so that the wildlife biologist that rode low level flights to count water birds could wear it on his belt in case he needed to cut something loose after a possible crash in the water. He still had it when I retired.
    With one guy already killed in a crash, I tried to give the next guy whatever he thought he needed.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016

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