This week, the contestants on Jeopardy! were all stumped on the final question of the night. In the category, “Famous Americans,” on Thursday, February 3, 2022, the statement was, “He was buried in 1969 in one of the World War II uniform jackets named for him.” The correct response is (obviously) “Who is Dwight Eisenhower?”
All three contestants failed to answer the question correctly, and people had strong opinions about this triple stumper. It was a ridiculously easy question to answer for some people, while others never knew that Dwight Eisenhower had a jacket named after him.
What is the ‘Eisenhower Jacket?’
For those who aren’t aware, the Eisenhower Jacket was developed in the later stages of the Second World War by General Dwight Eisenhower.
Eisenhower considered the original Army uniform worn throughout the Second World War to be unsatisfactory for combat. He envisioned a uniform that would be both practical and neater-looking on the soldiers wearing it. In 1943, Eisenhower wrote a letter to General George C. Marshall, urging him to adopt a shorter style of jacket, saying, “I have no doubt that you have been impressed by the virtual impossibility of appearing neat and snappy in our field uniform. Given a uniform which tends to look a bit tough, and the natural proclivities of the American soldier quickly create a general impression of a disorderly mob.”
Ultimately, Eisenhower wanted the length of the army jacket to be shortened. He also envisioned it as something that could be worn by itself or over a shirt. Eisenhower had his tailor take a Wool Field Jacket Model and modify it to fit his vision.
In November 1944, the “Ike Jacket” was introduced in the European theater of operations. It became a standard issue for U.S. troops until around 1956 when it began to be phased out. Although Eisenhower intended the jacket to be worn in battle, most soldiers wore their Ike Jackets in non-combat situations.
The Ike Jacket goes public
As is often the case with military fashion, the Ike Jacket made its way into the public domain. In 1949, the U.S. Air Force adopted the Ike Jacket as its standard uniform. During Eisenhower’s presidency, the United States Post Office adopted the Eisenhower Jacket as part of its official uniform.
As more and more commercial companies adopted the Eisenhower Jacket, it seeped into the public consciousness. Civilians started wearing versions of the Eisenhower Jacket even if they weren’t in the armed forces.
Many brands today, including Dickies and Carhartt, continue to carry “The Eisenhower Jacket,” but these modern designs have lost some original features. Most modern versions of the Eisenhower Jacket have removed the lapels along the breast pockets. However, current versions of the jacket retain the same length as the original jacket as well as the breast pockets.
Although the Eisenhower Jacket is a piece of history and variations of it are still being sold today, Jeopardy! contestants failed to correctly answer the question about it. People quickly jumped on social media to express their dismay at this apparent failure, but others came to the defense of the contestants, claiming that the Eisenhower Jacket is a thing of the past.
Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969. He was buried in a plain Army casket, wearing his namesake jacket.