About Black Star

blackstar-web

In 1942, the national symbol of the United States (five-point star) became mandatory on soft-skinned vehicles assigned to tactical units. The familiar five-pointed star was centered in the largest area of the top, both sides, front, and rear of each vehicle.

With the introduction of the US Army’s Mobility Equipment Research & Development Command (MERDC) four color camouflage scheme in 1972, the large white star so proudly worn by U.S. vehicles gave way to 3″ black stars centered one each on the front and rear of the vehicles. These were usually placed on the front bumper and tailgates of wheeled vehicles. These black stars are currently in use with the existing 3-color NATO camouflage scheme adopted in mid-1980-s and Tan 686 vehicles used currently.

So how did this become our company name?

Back in 2005-2006 two long-time friends, Shawn and James, started a business of re-purposing surplus military trucks into farm and industrial work trucks.  As the business started to grow, they decided to get serious and have a real website.  They realized it was necessary to change the company name from Captain America Surplus to something a little… more original.

They sat around with a few beers, brainstorming among all of their military trucks to come up with a new company name.  Maybe they’re creative geniuses or maybe it was the beer, but pretty soon they noticed all of the big, black stars painted on every vehicle around.  And our company was born or, rather, renamed!

 

Below is the full history of the story behind the “black star”.

In 1942, the national symbol of the United States (five-point star) became mandatory on soft-skinned vehicles assigned to tactical units. The familiar five-pointed star was centered in the largest area of the top, both sides, front, and rear of each vehicle.

A circle surrounding the star ( the “invasion star”) was later introduced to aid in aerial identification of vehicles. This surround was specified to have a thickness equal to 1/7 of the diameter of the star. Although originally intended only for the horizontal (hood) star, soon all the stars on European theater vehicles seemed to have surrounds. The surrounds were not normally found on vehicles in the Pacific theater.

Initially, the star surrounds were painted on in luster less chrome yellow, but the yellow soon gave way to the more common white. Some early vehicles, usually with yellow surrounds, had the fields of the horizontal stars painted blue. Later, it was fairly common for the horizontal Starr’s field to be painted with a gas-detecting paint, Liquid Vesicant Detector, M-5. This was a pea green paint that would change colors to a deep red if exposed to poisonous gases. Unfortunately, it would also change colors when exposed to heat from the engine or even the sun.

During the WWII era, the star was oriented such that on horizontal surfaces the single point was toward the rear of the vehicle. In post-WWII era, the orientation of the star was changed so that one point was directly toward the vehicle front. On vertical surfaces, one point was oriented squarely upwards, regardless of service or area. Common sizes of these stars on large trucks were 6″ on bumpers, 16″ on doors, and 20″ on hoods.

With the introduction of the US Army’s Mobility Equipment Research & Development Command (MERDC) four color camouflage scheme in 1972, the large white star so proudly worn by U.S. vehicles gave way to 3” black stars centered one each on the front and rear of the vehicles. These were usually placed on the front bumper and tailgates of wheeled vehicles. These black stars are currently in use with the existing 3-color NATO camouflage scheme adopted in mid-1980-s and Tan 686 vehicles used currently.

Information obtained from: Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles, 2nd Edition, Krause Publications, David Doyle, author