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Aviation Survival Kit RVN 1969 725827 Pilot

Started by Texasradio , Jan 16 2007 07:41 AM

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#1 Texasradio

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:41 AM

suv2.jpg

I found this item in AZ last month, not being familiar with aviation equipment, I need some information about it. The case measures 13X18X6, typical hard board construction, with lift-out tray (see pics). All of the items inside are dated pre- 1969, except the 1911A1 which is a Rem. Rand from 1943. Most items are still sealed. What I would like is information regarding type of aircraft this was used in and a TM or FM number listing contents / use. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

suv1.jpg

Contents: 1911A1, SDU-5/E strobe (dated 67), package w/matches, fishing hooks, sharpening stone, nylon line, wire saw, fuel, ration heat (sealed dated 1968), 2 sealed orange smoke distress signals, 2 bottles water purification tablets (3/67) sealed, bottle of bore cleaner ('68 sealed), lensatic compass, sealed, box (number unk) .45 cal ammo dated 195? resealed with packing tape, fixed blade knife with OD "100 MPH" tape handle, stamped US Army Survival 1969, parachute flare, white, dated 1968.

suv3.jpg

Contents: 6 jars containing ointments, anti-malarial pills, ASA, etc. All marked "Property of US Army", first aid kit, general purpose 12 unit (full), 2 small road-type flares. An unk length of parachute cord, tied/semi-sealed, a silver "space-blanket" in package with orange "US Army Medical Supply Item, emergency survival unit" sticker applied, A Lg yellow "disposable emergency blanket" sealed (I'm not sure of this item as being period), 1 OD pistol cleaning rod w/patch tip, and 1 ??M-116 hand grenade (inert).

#2 MIke_L.

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:45 AM

This does not appear to be a military issued kit despite the case markings. I say that for a couple of reasons:

1. Military survival kits tend to be compact and "essential" in contents. Ointments and grenades where never part of any issue kit that I've ever seen in 30+ years of collecting survival kits. BTW, the grenade is a WWII era Mk2 with a modern era training fuse-check the lot number for the year of mfr. Essential meds were included such as anti-infection or diarrhea, etc. but nothing much more that the aviator would need for more than a few days on the ground. A sidearm would have been carried on the person rather than packed in the kit when in a combat zone.

2. Additionally, survival kit cases are designed, since the early days, to be attached to the aviator or easily carried out during egress. This box just doesn't fit the bill. It looks like someone took a military style box, put a vehicle (U.S. Army) decal and other markings on it. It does look like it would make a good "just in case" type box to have for emergencies.

3. That type of first aid kit is usually used with multi-crewed (ground) vehicles but the case is marked as a "pilot" (individual) kit. The era of the contents (pre '69) suggest that it existed during the period when the Army had available for issue the Individual Survival Kit series (Hot Climate, Cold Climate, and Overwater) and the USAF's SRU-21 vest. The first aid kit of the day would have been the Camouflaged Aviator's Kit.

Hope you got a good deal on the pistol. The more I look at the photos, the less it looks like a military issued kit and the more it looks like something someone recently put together at home. There are many more points that refute it being an issue kit but I have presented some of the most obvious and glaring. Can anyone offer support as to the kit origin/markings?

#3 Texasradio

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:32 PM

I agree with some of your points, however, if it is a "put-together", someone really went to a lot of trouble, gathering all the items to period, making a case with fitted compartments, making labels with information ie:

Marine and Tropics pc2811
Form 222 US Army AVIATOR SURVIVAL KIT 1969
WATERPROOF HAND HELD
RVN 725827 Pilot

As listed on the smoke signal. and then sealing them in plastic, clouding the plastic (just slightly), and moving them around inside the plastic long enough to cause the orange label to "wear off" onto the inside of the wrap.

suv1.jpg

I've been trying to get a pic of the labels, but the plastic is slightly clouded, and the flash is reflecting off it also.

I've examined the labels under a loupe, and they were not created on an inkjet printer.

The knife is fairly crude, but is roll-stamped US ARMY SURVIVAL 1969. Opposite side is stamped also with evidently the makers name. I cannot make out the full name, but it is 2 line. The 1st beginning with a "W", and the 2nd beginning with "P or B".

knife.jpg

The case itself in not labeled with a decal, but rather with a stencil and paint.

Again, if this is a "put-together", then it is very well done.

Yes, I got a good price on the 1911A1, being a post WWII rebuild, actually less for the entire case than for what the .45 itself is worth.

But again, I'm interested in everyones thoughts on this item, since I have never come across one before.

#4 dustin

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 03:40 PM

I am not that familiar with with VN era survival kits but my two cents is this. Mike does bring up some good points but firearms included in survival or emergency kits are not uncommon but generally are shotguns over/under or from this era (VN) would be the M-4 .22 caliber and the M-6 over/under .22/.410. I think the word pilot and the presence of the .45 led you to the conclusion this kit is for an individual which led to your response, with which I agree, but I believe this kit to be a multi person survival kit and meant to be stored aboard a large aircraft such as a transport or supply type. Most emergency kits developed during WWII were meant for multi person and some were actually trunks. Knowing this it is concievable that this trunk kit is plausible. The .45 is probably more intended to be a tool for food source then defense if needed, so I would imagine that shot ammo would be included in contents. The presence of the large first aid kit suggests multiperson. The trunk itself is not that large 13x18x6 which makes it very compactible. I do think grenade was added in there later for fun! I also think that a few other components are missing for sure. This kit could also very well be a unit made kit so it may not be in any manuals as It says "Form 222 US Army aviator kit 1969" sugests it to be a depot made kit distributed with form 222 on its contents and instructions. So Mike you are spot on if it is an indivdual kit but I believe the kit to be real and for multiperson use and an item stored aboard aircraft.

What does R.V.N. stand for?

DISCLAMER:I am not an expert! It could be a dud as Mike stated I do trust his opinion.

#5 Charlie Flick

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 04:09 PM

Given the 1969 date I suspect whoever created the kit would have intended RVN to mean Republic of Viet Nam, ie: South Viet Nam. However, I find it very odd that a kit such as this would have a specific geographic location attached to it, rather than a theater or weather type (tropical, desert, arctic, etc.)

I am not an expert on VN era survival kits, so I would suggest that you get a copy of Mike Breuninger's excellent book on US Aviation Survival Kits entitled "U.S. Military Combat Aircrew Individual Survival Equipment, WWII to Present, a Reference Guide for the Collector". It will tell you all you need to know about the government issued kits including the TMs and FMs.

Another consideration is that the US Army has been out of the large aircraft business for a long time, and certainly before 1969. The USAF objected to the Army's 'private air force' and it was ultimately agreed that the Army would restrict itself to small fixed wing training aircraft, small liason aircraft and executive type transport, and rotary wing aircraft. The last large aircraft bought by the US Army, as I recall, was the Caribou, a twin engine piston powered tactical transport. I think it is still being used by the Golden Knights. If it is genuine I would expect that it would be for use in a helicopter or other aircraft of the general types listed above.

Personally, I think the chances are slim that this is a government issued survival kit. Many of the components appear genuine but I doubt that the entire kit is. Perhaps it was a unit-created kit, but it does not give the appearance of a contractor-created kit for the military.

#6 dustin

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 04:24 PM

If it truely is not genuine, what an effort to make it look like it is! Good explaination Charlie!

#7 QED4

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:25 PM

OK, here is my guess. This may have been a training aid and not an actual survival kit. Something used to familiarize pilots in the use of survival kits, rather than unpacking a sealed and precisely pack kit for every class they would have all of the components in this case which could be easily removed and examined and then replaced. I do think, what ever it is, some of the components are not correct starting with the grenade. A lot of things do not fit the compartment they are in and don't seem logical. There also appears to be some empty compartments. This would also account for the odd marking on the case, not a model designation but more a description of what it is, where it is used, and when.

#8 MIke_L.

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 07:56 PM

I certainly don't mean to dismiss this kit as a "no way, no how" deduction though I seem to have worded it that way. And, if anyone knows for sure what this kit is, by all means enlighten us and put us out of our misery.

Dustin brings up some good points and Texasradio certainly seems to be able to authenticate the age of the contents. This is an unusual item and I'm intrigued as to its origin. However, I was basing a lot of my observations on the date of the contents, the make up of the contents themselves, and the singular-in-context lid markings ("Aviator" & "Pilot"). I haven't seen any kits of the VN era that would fit this description, at least not tactical which is what I'm most familiar with. Therefore, I eliminated it as a tactical aircraft kit since there were prescribed kits for those and the general characteristics of tactical survival kits of the era (as I mentioned in the other post) don't fit the design. That could allow for a kit of this type to be used in non-tactical/admin aircraft such as some of the small cargo/ferry type of the era. I still maintain that this kit would not be "issue" or a standardized type despite the markings but I haven't been in all the Army's inventory of the era. Sounds contradictory I know. So, let's dig inů.

The case. As mentioned, VN era Army multi-position aircraft were rotary winged (helicopters) or fixed wing (observation and small ferry type) and most had a prescribed kit that was used. Though the standardized "Individual Survival Kit" series I mentioned weren't part of the Army's catalog before '64, I don't have anything, written or photo, to say a box wasn't used to carry the crew's survival gear around before that or even during that time in non-tactical aircraft. I have seen "kit bags" used extensively but not boxes. Crewmembers were allowed to make up their own kits based on their perceived needs. I agree that the case is indeed small enough for aircraft stowage. However, the lid markings imply the kit is dated 1969 which is somewhat inconsistent with the Army's kit identification/marking practice. Normal practice was/is to attach a tag or label to the kit with the last inspection date and inspector's initials/signature. Because of the medical kit contents, rations, and other perishables in the kits, these would be updated periodically and the tag/label would have to be replaced to reflect the most current information. If there aren't multiple layers of paint under where the "1969" has been painted, I think this may not be a date at all since it would be unlikely that the military would build a kit, mark it with the year and leave it. Also, with any kit containing pilferable items, practice was/is to have some method to seal the kit (similar to an ammo can) to prevent/identify pilferage. Also, the "U.S. Army" marking seems out of place. Usually, this marking is used on external locations of major end items (trucks, aircraft, soldiers, etc.). Markings on equipment usually consists of the brief "U.S." (pouches, footlockers, etc.) though this was not always the case. So, this raised a red flag with me. The R.V.N. marking, in context with the contents dates would make one associate it with "Republic of Viet Nam" which again would be inconsistent with standard military markings. The kit would be labeled as to the climate it was designed to support, not the country it was used in (another red flag). So, my thinking now is the R.V.N. 1969 isn't a "country year" annotation but rather something else. What, I have no idea. The case definitely has a manufactured look to it so it is unlikely a pilot made this in the post's wood shop so he could fly with it. Unit manufacture, perhaps. Could even be specific to a particular aircraft. Maybe someone could help this out by posting what fixed wing admin aircraft were in the Army's inventory then that this case might have fit in.

My observations now fall within the case. The layout of the inserts definitely supports most of the current contents. Though Texasradio can authenticate the age of the contents, any collection of items roughly associated could have been grouped together to form a "put together" set.

Starting with the 1st aid kit (or container), these heavier metal box types are generally used for multi-position vehicles (commonly ground type) and the aviation type are usually the lighter, soft sided, bulkhead mountable, fabric type for multi-position aircraft. So, if the standard "Camouflaged Aviator" first aid kit wasn't used then I would have expected to see the fabric type case in a crew kit.

The ointments caught my eye also. I don't know what all is in them but I still find it unusual that any survival kit would be stocked with these bottles. They just don't look like they belong in a military survival kit. Can you get a close up of the labels? "Property of U.S.Army"-another flag from what I've seen in most kits. "U.S. Government Property" would have been a more common labeling for this era as the Army generally isn't proprietary with it's materials that would be found in the DOD supply system.

Texasradio, can you get anymore information from the smoke signals? I've seen this type with the ground stake before, just not in military survival kits. It is interesting that the Mk13/0 type wouldn't be used as they were pretty universal then. Another reason I didn't think this kit to be military.

As mentioned, the sidearm in a tactical kit would have been worn rather than stowed. As Dustin mentioned, the survival shotguns & rifles would have been stowed but the case doesn't seem to be configured for one. Also, I believe the survival shotguns & rifles (MA-1, M4, and M6) were USAF issue-I've never seen any listed in Army kits or manuals. I have seen the M1 carbine listed in some manuals as a "survival" gun but this is not the case. As in the case where a pilferable item is stored, having a sidearm stowed in the kit would have some form of anti-pilfer measure evident (hasp or locking device). Frequently, the weapon's SN would also be marked on the exterior of the case as is the case with the USAF's ML-3 bags.

There are a few more things that seemed out of place to me but it is getting late and I should give someone else a chance to chime in.

So, what do you guys think? If I'm off base on any of this let me know. Until someone chimes in with "that's the case they used on the CH-34 and I have an inventory list," I'm going to have a problem with this kit being legit.

Well, in my lengthy research time explaining my position, I see that Charlie hit a lot of the points before I could finish and post this.

#9 Texasradio

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:17 AM

Drawing3.jpg

I think QED4 may be on to something. This could be a training aid.
In the above pics I've tried to show some of the construction of the case.
The bottom section was made as a separate piece to the case, and was installed (orginally glued in place but the glue deteriored and the piece is now loose) prior to the top tray holders (4 pieces of wood 3X0.5X0.5) being riveted in place. I tried to remove the bottom tray, but was unable to because of the tray holders. The rivets are 2 piece with slightly domed head and washer. They appear to be the same age as the rest of the case, ie grunge, wear, etc.

The bottles have labels glued in place with contents named, and indicating type of supply item ie: US Army Supply Item (smaller letters.. emergency survival unit). There are also 2 symbols on the corner with the small lettering 1st a cross in a circle, and 2nd a star in a circle.
The tops are rubber stamped with "Property of US Army".

The masking tape on the end of the case is old, and brittle. The adhesive is dry and glued into the case finish. The writing on 1st piece; Remington Rand M1911 A! US Army 1404612 2nd piece is simply marked 2 A.

I dug out my old Sony Mavica since I know it will take much closer/cleaner shots than the HP, but its a pain to upload from a floppy, than the digital.

Thanks Everyone for all the input...keep it coming.

#10 hawkdriver

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:39 PM

I will guarantee that it is not a rotary wing survival kit.

#11 henry2

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 02:30 PM

all most all survival gear that i seen have been in vest typle set ups with a few seat typle survival gear packets for after person or persons left the plane when iit was on fire after beening hit ..
hello guys had the vest to but i never did see a seat typle survival pack


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