P-56, as the designation suggests, is a spec that was standardised in 1956. Taking its design and cut from the earlier P-53 version, the P-56 only really differs from its predecessor in that it is made from a cotton sateen, as opposed to cotton HBT.
The P-56 shirt was standard US Marine Corp issue up until 1964, and did see some service in the first part of the Vietnam War. It is often referred to as the ‘Gomer Pyle’ shirt after the popular 1960s tv comedy series of the same name.
Whilst designated as a shirt, it is actually half way between a shirt and jacket, and so is quite versatile. It can be worn over a T-shirt, as a shirt, in warmer climate, or layered over more under-garments and serve as a light jacket.
The design and cut is thoughtful and well shaped. The two patch breast pockets have flaps with concealed buttons, as does the placket down the front closure. It has a very practical large inside pocket on the left which enters from a vertical aperture and drops down several inches - this is closed with a button also. The side seams are slightly waisted, so the silhouette is flattering in shape.
Made in Japan to exact mil specs.