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Mae West question


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I've been digging through some of my books but have been left without an answer, so I'm turning to you guys. What are the service histories of the B-3 and B-4 "Mae West" Life preservers? Example: When were they first issued, when were they outdated? Something along those lines.

Thanks

 

Nathan

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To truely understand freedom, one must know the place, clutch the earth, and honor the sacrifice.

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Parachustist summed it up in a nut shell. To break it down further would in part depend if you are talking Navy or AAF?

The B-4 was standardized in May 1943 but procurement did not commence until June of 1942 with deliveries by Sept-Oct 1942. Through 1943 the service use gradually increased until it prominently replaced the B-3 with the B-3 in stock and issued upon enteriy of the USA in WWII. No new contracts of the B-3 were released upon standardization of the B-4 but existing contracts/manufacturing continued till the end of 1942. The Navy began procurement of the B-4 in 1943. By the end of 1943 the B-4 was redesignated under a joint Army/Navy specification AN-V-18. All contracts awarded in 1944 and 1945 were for this new AN model and as stenciled on vest AN-6519-1. The B-4/AN-6519-1 was finally removed from service in May 1950. The B-3 was under a "issue till exhausted" status. By late 1944 both services had new deisgned vests with the AAF standardizing their model first, the Type B-5 with deliveries in early spring 1945. The Navy would standardize their model in the spring of 1945, the Mark-II life vest with deliveries just after VJ day.

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