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Vietnam or later flight HGU-26 helmet with usual ERDL camouflage tape job - strange !

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I welcome opinions on this helmet (HGU-26 ?), which has, in my opinion, an unusual ERDL tape job. The camo tape has been cut into amoebic blobs similar to duck hunter camo, and applied over matt black paint. Originally the helmet was white, as were the chin and nape straps, which have been dyed green - the plastic areas of the chinstrap remaining white. The edge roll and interior padding look to be custom additions, of black leather. The avionics are missing. No visible stamps or labels, and the spec label to the rear of the shell is buried under camo tape.

Can anyone suggest a possible period or region of use for this helmet ? When exactly was the camo tape introduced ?









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Hi Pluto, about USAF flight helmet camo taping, the earliest reference I located is an early 1972 PACAF directive (PACAF Test 72-01A) starting a camo taping test on flight helmets in tropical areas to evaluate if it was more performant than spray painting. The “Helmet Camouflage Kits” were 2,5 square feet three colors tape plates.

Best, Croc

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I believe there were two green camouflage tape patterns used by the USAF. This HGU-26/P appears to

have the later camouflage tape pattern which had more colors in the pattern than the earlier

camouflage tape pattern. I have seen the later pattern tape sheets for sale and they seem to be dated

around the early to mid 1980s. If you loosen the chin strap, there may be a contract date of mfr.

stamped in black on the white strap. Also, the helmet is setup for J or offset bayonet oxygen mask

attachment fittings versus the earlier T bayonets. I believe the J or offset bayonets were introduced

for standard use around the mid 1970s.


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  • 1 month later...

Northcoastaero is correct about the color patterns. There was an earlier duck-hunter-like pattern in muted colors. The second pattern (very common on helmets in the early 1980s) featured brighter colors and a woodland-style camo pattern. The camo came on 12 x 12-inch sheets in packets of three sheets/packet.

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