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On one of my last post’s a French collector mentioned seeing a HGU-2 in my collection, and I had it out over the weekend so I took a few shots of it ... I originally got it from a ALSE tech that was stationed in Vietnam on F-105 ‘s , and he told me it had flown missions over North - Vietnam ... but the condition was pretty beat up when I got it .. It was camo taped , but with many ‘ding’s’ and peeling tape , dirty chin and nape straps , badly scratched visor lens , and all foam liner pads and ear seal foam decomposed .

So a restore was called for …, I stripped it to the bare shell .. a lot of sanding and acetone cleaning got the tape off and edging looking new , .. Re-placed the straps , new sizing pads and ear seals , new visor lens , repaint the bayonet receivers ..and a new camo tape pack was cut to 1” strips and I had to help the glue on it with some 3M – 77 spray contact adhesive on the old 40 year old tape to get it to stick correctly , and redid it in the same tape line pattern as the original was taped …. she looked like new issue .

On the MBU-5 mask ... about the same time , I bought from a collector 12ea. MBU-5’s and lots of spares ... In the bunch I found a , 67-68-69 face piece , and assembled with new hard shell , new straps, and comm. , and T bayonets ... and a new-old type fabric covered coil cord and the early clear/silver color 3- pin connector , and I had my early issue mask for the assembly .. The pic’s were taken with my cell phone camera , so I don’t have real close detail .. but just wanted to add a posting to the forum .. Mike / Cepilot

 

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This is a great restoration job, I wouldn't be able to reach a similar result if using the adhesive tape

I disassembled/re-assembled (and in maybe two instances, repaired) at least 14-16 HGU-2/AP helmets both single and dual visor, but they were to be fully airbrushed by me with different schemes - full color and/or subdued Tiger of 21° Gruppo, P.A.N. Aerobatic Team, USAF Thunderbirds, etc. for my customers who (in some instances) were dealers more than true collectors. In the end they were great results but with a great number hours, and no room for errors.

 

But all were near-new, or even brand-new helmets on wich I had to work. Even not required any basic primers! Just a careful masking and two quick coats of true white and after, the real painting work with airbrush.

I never liked to do any repair jobs on helmets, even more if a real deep restoration... honestly, I should say I hated to do.

 

Conversely, an italian collector I was in touch with conceived his collection as one made of exclusively new-looking ones. Even if a little used but very good, even if having a history or a good-looking outside patina and a fair inside wear.

He was always willing to bring back helmets virtually bare, and reassemble after applying his questionable and absurd paint schemes - what could have given good feeling of a HGU-2/P wich "talked to you", was wiped away.. anyway, tastes aren't the same for all of us :huh:

 

Franco.

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Looks great! That tape work looks like its an art form to install.

 

I recently required a HGU-2A/P from a Vietnam vet that had a different background than other 2's I'm sure. The vet was a OV-1 Mohawk pilot with the 131st Avn Co (AS). In early 1969 he was assigned to take a detachment of 4 Mohawks up to Udorn AB Thailand to do some targeting and recon work with the USAF's 555th TFS. Apparently the Air Force life support guys didnt like his Army issued helmet which Id imagine was still a APH-5 if it was early 1969, so they issued him the HGU-2.

 

It's all done up like a F-4 driver would have worn then. Has the visor cover modified with the visibility cuts, and was painted a tan and green camo pattern. Only part that makes it look non fighter jock is the addition of the MT-1527 boom mic mount. I do have the original mic for it now but haven't been able to check it out yet as it went to my families address where most of my collection is. Not sure if its going to be a M33 banana mic or a grey M-87 mic.

 

Surprisingly for a helmet issued in 1969 it has a DOM of 1962, and the original MS22001 mask that was with it was also 62 dated but that is toast from its age and improper storage over the years. It does have a later Sierra O2 mask hard shell assembly with T bayonets that is still in nice shape. The helmet overall shows its age being 52 years old and flew approx 500hrs of combat in Vietnam back in 1969. I've elected to leave it the way it is vs restore it. Its pretty neat looking with all the stories that it could probably tell. I will take some pics of it soon when I reunite it with its mic and post them up.

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I heard a Mohawk helmet story .... when the first SPH-4's came out ... several dual rated heli & fixed wing pilots , tried to wear their helicopter SHP -4's flying the Mohawk .. and having a ejection event ... the bulged ear bump-outs , the parachute risers caught under the helmet and a otherwise sucessful ejuection , ended with the pilot taking the full schock of the deploy-ed parchute with his neck and either killed him , or broke his spine .. had to go thru a bunch of these til they finialy figured it out , and disallowed fixed wing flight with the SPH-4 and 5 helmets.. But ironic I see a bunch of civilian fixed wing , ag and acro pilots wearing a Ebay SPH-4/5 cause they are cheap ... and actually had one pilot pissed off at me when I told him this fact .... but the dumb rump still wears his SPH-4 in a T-6 , flying for the local CAF .. ..

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I can surely believe its possible to have riser slap against the ear domes of an SPH-4.

 

Not to get off your original HGU-2 topic, but do you know of an actual reference showing that SPH-4 helmets were unauthorized for use in the OV-1 or even Army fixed wing in general? I've seen OV-1 crews wearing SPH-4 helmets right up til they started retiring them. At least one of my 2 SPH-4s that were OV-1 used was a 1988 dated helmet. They certainly wore them from 1969 and on. At some point they started modifying the helmets with the bayonet receivers. Some guys wore HGU-26 helmets in the 80s and then the 55s started to be used around the late 80s- Operation Desert Storm time frame. With both of those used, SPH-4s with the O2 mask receivers were still around. I've seen some pics of crews in U-21s and a T-42 wearing SPH-4s in the late 70s thru 80s time frame for standard fixed wing use.

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ON SPH-4/5's with oxygen mask receivers .. they were installed alot for CH--54 helicopter crews that would take that beast to over 20,000 ft. altitude flights !.. I wish I had kept the web page on the parachute riser stuff .. I got it off the internet , just browsing , on military parachute / ejection events .. and aviation life support riggers .. And I too have see alot of pictures of aircrew with SPH-4/5's in fixed wing military aircraft .. But if you go todayt to the GENTEX web site , or buy a new Gentex helmet from Gibson and Barnes .. the helmets for liaability , have to leave the factory with a disclaimer sticker on 'use only for either fixed-wing / rotor wing aircraft depending on model .. in fact , funny you mentioned that as I just removed one of those stickers off of one of my company helmets just this morning ! .. Mike

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Did camo tape exist during the 1960s? I didn't think so, but wanted to ask.

i know they had the marine frog skin pattern tape im not sure about this pattern though

"America shall win the war. Therefore, I will work. I will save. I will sacrifice. I will endure. I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone." -Martin A. Treptow Jake L.

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I have seen three different USAF camouflage tape patterns for flight helmets:

 

-Camouflage with less colors. Introduced by 1972.

-Woodland camouflage with more colors. Introduced by 1984.

-Desert camouflage pattern. Introduced by around the mid 1980s.

 

Also, some USAF helmets were taped with black electrical tape during the Vietnam War era.

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I'd be interested in seeing some Vietnam dated photos showing helmets with camo tape. I'm fairly certain the Woodland tape wasn't around until the late 70s. There was an earlier pattern camo tape -- sort of a duck-hunter pattern in dull green colors. I have an image of this pattern showing the makers tag and it's dated 1975. So at least this early pattern existed.

 

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Hello,

as said previously cannot find again that 1969-dated pic showing the camo pattern on a 366th TFW helmet.

However in still searching on more books I found now these self-pics of F-105G pilot Maj. D. Kilgus, taken on a mission of November 1970. Difficult to tell what pattern could be this strange tape, maybe an all-green? If carefully looking at the frontal view it's possible picking out some (just discernible) curving areas, lighter and darker, wich could turn out to be a real kind of camo tape?

But, also could be the "shadows" from the above scatches (or similar) in canopy's glass? A couple of noteworthy pics anyway.

 

 

Franco.

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I played around with the images to see what detail I could find. Certainly there are some reflective anomalies in the first photo but the second reveals the tape to be a solid color. It's possible this is the black electrical tape referenced in an earlier post.

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Yes. It appears to be one color. Wrinkles in the tape create the appearance of different colors. Combined with the lighting and reflections from outside and inside the aircraft, I can see how it's possible to get impressions of a dark camo pattern. This is, of course, just my opinion.

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Found this reference by fellow forum member "CROC":

"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

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/169784-vietnam-or-later-flight-hgu-26-helmet-with-usual-erdl-camouflage-tape-job-strange/

 

I've not been able to find any additional info.

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At this point I seriously could think that image of the 1969-dated, 366th TFW helmet with camo taping as seen years ago on a magazine of mine, was actually misinterpreted by me - maybe a similar one to this HGU-2 of the color pics?

Well visible the classic tape strips, but perhaps a combination of "disturbing" factors led me to believe there was a more colors than actually it were.

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There is always the possibility that the helmet you saw in the magazine photo was from a later period than stated? Or possibly it was a painted helmet with shadows created the illusion of camo? Or perhaps it truly was a camo-taped helmet?

 

gunfighters.jpg

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Yes could be much more likely either of the two former instances you mentioned - less easily, at this point, a true camo-taped helmet.

 

P.S. please what's a "duct tape"? Cannot find a reasonable translation here to Italian language.

Thanks!! Franco.

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