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WW2 USAAF Captain's Dress Whites


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This is my current restoration project. Captain Edward F. Hellwig USAAF, Flight Surgeon WW2. I bought the uniform from his estate auction. I have most of the original insignia with the exception of his flight surgeon wings. Pretty cool that it was all made in Panama. Overall condition is pretty good but the material has yellowed considerably. I think once it's back together it will be a stunner.

 

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"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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Phase one of the summer white uniform restoration. The visor hat was missing the Officer's badge which I have several so no problem there. After disassembly I found all of the chassis to be in good shape. The brim was very lightly wiped down, the buttons cleaned and the band was lightly brushed. The cover was removed and soaked in Oxiclean overnight, rinsed and allowed to air dry. To say the result is dramatic is an understatement. It came out phenomenal and it looks even better in person. You can barely see some of the yellowing but you have to look hard.

 

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"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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I didn't have the original hat badge so I had to go to the inventory. After going through what I had on hand I was able to find a badge that matched up perfectly with the two pin holes on the rear of the wing tips.

 

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"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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With the exception of the flight surgeon wings this project is complete. I'm pretty happy with the final result. When I originally acquired it the material was very yellowed. The hat cleaned up well. The uniform itself not quite as well. Both the coat and pants still have a yellow cast to them albeit not as dark as before. But there is still a pretty good contrast between the coat/pants and the hat. One thing that cleaned up very well is the stitching and cuff bands. Everything except the medical insignia and hat badge are original to the uniform. The placement of the collar and lapel insignia is off but I had to use the existing holes. I have not replaced the flight surgeon wings and I probably won't. I had intended to keep it and use it for shows and displays. But it's so nice and clean I think it's best to get it off to a new home instead of dragging it around to shows just to get dirty.

 

I initially had it dry cleaned but there wasn't much improvement and the stitching actually came back darker. So I gambled and soaked it in Oxiclean overnight, twice. A rinse with Mrs. Stewart's bluing liquid and then two clean rinses. Finally back to the dry cleaners for a professional ironing/pressing.

 

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"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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Did you soak the coat one Oxi-clean as well?.....Bodes

 

The steps were as follows:

 

Pants and Coat, Dry Cleaned and pressed. Not happy with the results. So onto the next step.

 

Pants, one overnight soak in Oxiclean, clean water rinse. Rinsed again in Mrs.Stewart's Bluing Liquid and a final clean water rinse. Air dried and then returned to the dry cleaners for pressing.

 

Coat, overnight soak in Oxiclean. Not happy with the results. Second overnight soak in Oxiclean and a clean water rinse. Second rinse with Mrs. Stewart's Bluing Liquid and then a final clean water rinse. Air dry and then to the cleaners for pressing.

 

I couldn't get the coat as white as the pants and neither as white as the hat cover.

 

A couple lessons I learned:

 

- Make absolutely sure the Oxiclean is completely dissolved and thoroughly mixed. Same with the Bluing Liquid.

 

- Put a clean white towel on top of the material you're soaking to keep it completely submerged.

 

- Stay away from regular bleach. It's not your friend and will yellow and weaken most of the older fabrics.

 

- If you can test a small piece of the material it's ideal. Takes the gamble out of the process.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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Hoping you won't mind, I took the liberty of posting your credited method and formula here:

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/26375-preservationconservation-supplies-a-z/page-2

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Hoping you won't mind, I took the liberty of posting your credited method and formula here:

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/26375-preservationconservation-supplies-a-z/page-2

 

 

I don't mind at all. I'm more than happy to help anyone else if I can.

"The history of gunfighting fails to record a single fatality resulting from a quick noise...speed's fine, but accuracy is final." William (Bill) H. Jordan, 1965

 

North Coast Military Antiques

https://northcoastmilitaryantiques.com

"preserving history, one piece at a time"

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