Painting of U. S. Navy Vehicles
Private First Class Jacklyn H. Lucas, USMCR waving from a Navy jeep, 1945
Adapted from U. S. Navy Automotive Transportation, Bureau of Yards and Docks, 1949
The maintenance of painted surfaces is of vital important to prevent rusting of steel and general deterioration of wood. Painting is also of importance from a general appearance standpoint.
In certain localities very extreme corrosion conditions are experienced. In such localities particular trouble has been encountered in preserving running gear and underfender surfaces, after a thorough sand blast or clearing, has been found to be very effective protection against severe corrosion.
The basic color for all United States Navy transportation vehicles shall be medium gray No. 123 as set forth in color card supplement (21 April 1943) of the United States Army Specification No. 3-1. The specific paint referred to is a gloss color synthetic enamel and its detailed specifications are covered in United States Navy Specification No. 52-E-7, Type III.
All United States Navy transportation vehicles shall conform to the following standard:
Trucks, truck – tractors, trailers, ambulances, busses, jeeps, motorcycles, and motor scooters. Painted used shall be medium gray No. 123. All exterior
metal and wood surfaces with the exception of chrome plating shall be the standard color. Interior surfaces of ambulances may be painted white or other light color.
Chevrolet pickup truck parked on a pier at Mare Island Navy Yard, August 1945
Passenger cars and station wagons. Paint used shall be medium gray No. 123. All exterior metal surfaces with the exception of chrome plating shall be the standard color. When exterior and interior wood surfaces of station wagons have reached the point of requiring bleaching and / or other expensive operations before reconditioning, it is directed that the wood surfaces be sanded smooth, treated with a good grade of wood filler or surfacer where necessary, and painted with a minimum of two coats of standard gray No. 123, synthetic enamel, United States Navy Specification No. 52-E-7, Type III.
Navy ambulance at Pearl Harbor, 1942
Fire trucks and crash trucks. Paint used shall be of grade I synthetic enamel, red. All exterior metal surfaces with the exception of chrome plating shall be solid color.
Supplies of medium gray, type II paint No. 123, as well as primer and thinner will be available from the Naval Supply Depot, Norfolk, Va. When painting is to be performed by commercial contractor, care should be taken to ascertain that painting and marking will be in accordance with the above standards Standard stock numbers to be used in ordering paint are as follows:
Synthetic enamel medium gray No. 123
Reg. 52-E-8400-90, 1 gallon cans US Navy Specification No. 52-E-7, Type III
Reg. 52-E-8400-95, 5 gallon cans US Navy Specification No. 52-E-7, Type III
Reg. 52-P-20480, 1 gallon cans
Reg. 52-P-20483, 5 gallon cans
Reg. 52-T-445, 1 gallon cans
Reg. 52-T-450, 5 gallon cans
It is not intended that any vehicles on which paint is in good condition shall be immediately painted merely to conform to the standard specifications. It is further requested that not repainting of automotive equipment be done except as necessary to preserve the metal and wood of the vehicle.
Any deviation from the above painting instructions should be
requested from the Chief, Bureau of Yards and Docks.
Note: For more detailed information on paint colors and samples, researchers should consult Navy records retired to the National Archives and Records Administration.
9 April 2008