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B-4 life preserver service use ?


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Hello Gent's,

I am at the point where I need to add a B-4 LP and I see that there are USAAF and US Navy marked(AN6519-1) B-4's out there for sale.

I need one for my USAAF display for my uncle.

I found a really nice B-4, But its the AN6519-1 model, So I started to see if I could find photo's of the USAAF using a Navy B-4. If I couldn't find one, I would move on and wait to find a USAAF marked one,

 Well I found this pic of a B-17 tail gunner wearing what is being called a Navy life preserver. My uncle just happened to be a B-17 tail gunner, 

So I thought I could bring this question here to the experienced collectors and get an opinion on what is right or what would be wrong for this peice of equipment.

 I know the date wouldn't fit my time frame, But the condition is what I am trying for. Here is the stamp on the one I am looking at and here is the pic of the B-17 TG

 So would a AN6519-1 LP be exceptable to use in my USAAF display?

 

Thanks

Semper Fi

Phil1279631506_B-4stampebaymightbuy.jpg.6387e2c28623c621b4098996419f10e5.jpg

1188852681_B-4beingwornbyB-17tailgunner.jpg.63087133d11427d4ea1d82e9254601aa.jpg

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Thanks Phantomfixer. I did use the search engine here to see if I could find an answer ,

 But I typed B-4 Life Preserver and just looked at the B-4 post. That is where I fell short.

 I'll read that one.

 Thanks again

Semper Fi

Phil

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That was great read and alot of great information passed.

 Like you mentioned Phantomfixer, Its not the model. Its all in that contract number.

 And the one I am looking at is a Navy contract.

 The seller is a former Marine and was holding it for me until I researched it.

 

 So a No Go for my display and I'll pass that word along.

 Thank you very much!!!

 

Semper Fi

Phil

 

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Bummer. Other examples: USAAF goggles, glasses, equipment, and some flight helmets were AN as were flight jackets later in the war. Doesn't mean everything AN,  especially if specifically marked USN or BuAer, was used by the AAF but the AN(Army-Navy) nomenclature was combined at one point in '43 for most items. The vest you have pictured is of course not the standard 6519 but a more Navy specific vest.

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Yeah it is a bummer Dave, He was willing to haggle and it would've look good displayed.

 But I do want to keep everything correct and looking good. I'll let the dates of manufacture slide as long as the model is correct and AAF.

 I don't want to be "That Guy" who post his display set up and hear its Not Correct.

 I thank you all for keeping me on the straight and narrow!

 

Semper Fi

Phil

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First of all that image is really cool, a USAAF aircrew wearing a Navy 23P6. So I have to question the background of the image, any info on who that is and where?

He is wearing a pre-war Navy pattern 23P6 life preserver, collector labeled MK-I wrap around. If indeed a USAAF guy, him wearing that vest is extremely unusual.

 

Beware that old life preserver thread. I used existing printed literature in some of its compilation where much of that info has otherwise proved false. I direct you all to a more accurate and updated study on life preservers in Volume-1 of my book series. From some of the comments here, you really should read the chapter on life preservers. It is quite comprehensive.

 

The AN-6519 vest from the original post is indeed a Bureau of Aeronautics contract and not really correct for a USAAF impression. The AN-6519 was contracted by both the USAAF and US Navy. The USAAF B-4 was officially redesignated under a joint A/N specification (AN-V-18). All vest contracts awarded after the adopted specification were then purchased using the drawing number which is AN-6519-1. For the most part, except a couple anomalies,  all vests manufactured in 1944 and 1945 will be marked AN-6519-1 for both services. 

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Dustin, the picture was posted on an AAF FB page...here is the bio that went with it..me..I keyed in on the B5 helmet...

Staff Sergeant James L. Stafford, tail gunner of the 305th Bomb Group, from Cisco, Texas, shows his girlfriend's freshman school cap, which he wore as a good-luck charm on raids under his steel helmet. He had taken it on 20 raids by April 21st 1943. Passed for publication 21 Apr 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'No. 14. Photo Shows: S/Sergt. James L. Stafford from Cisco, Texas, the tail gunner of Flying Fortress wearing his girl-friend's Freshman school cap which he wears under his flying helmet on all operations. The crew of this plane "Old Grand Dad" will not take off unless he is wearing it. The hat has been on 20 missions.' Censor no: 259782. On reverse: Planet News Ltd., US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps]. Image Imperial War Museum.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/494519874272654

 

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You beat me to it Phantomfixer!!!LOL. I saw Dustin's post then had to go to the FB page and flip to which site I got it from(Several B-17) Only to copy and get ready to paste it and you already didi!!!

Thanks!!

 

Dustin you mentioned updates and I'm also glad you said the one I posted was not correct for a USAAF display because after reading you older thread I contacted the seller and told him to go ahead and except the other offer. 

But you mention the model number being AN-6519-1 for both services. But would the contract number still differ? 

Semper Fi

Phil

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Thats great, thanks for the description of the caption for the image. Fascinating!

 

Yes, contract numbers are service specific. In the case of this vest at the top of the page N288s is that for the Aviation Supply Office, Bureau of Aeronautics.

If contract 535 or (33)038, it would be the USAAF, Materiel Command.

Under the new joint A/N vest specification, they were to be property marked US Govt. Prior contracted vests would say Army Air Forces or US Navy as their property mark, so that is easy to determine.

For those AN-6519-1 vests, the contract number is the key to determining service they were awarded to. Only a subtle little stamp but it makes all the difference, aside from a date of manufacture one might be looking for. 

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Thank you Dustin for you comments here and also that thread that Phantomfixer linked me to. 

It was a great source of information., Being outdated or not, it helped me know the difference and what I need to look for.

 

Take care!

Semper Fi

Phil

 

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On 7/13/2020 at 12:58 PM, dmar836 said:

Bummer. Other examples: USAAF goggles, glasses, equipment, and some flight helmets were AN as were flight jackets later in the war. Doesn't mean everything AN,  especially if specifically marked USN or BuAer, was used by the AAF but the AN(Army-Navy) nomenclature was combined at one point in '43 for most items. The vest you have pictured is of course not the standard 6519 but a more Navy specific vest.

 

Some more information (four pages) on "AN" flight gear and clothing. It was used more extensively from 1943-1945 than many realize and Dustin was correct, the contract number is the best way to tell which service it belonged to: https://pilotsmanyourplanes.com/Page_167.html

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Thanks Paul,

 I didn't even think about checking out your link. Even though I have it saved to my Fav's. I thought of it more of a Navy source of information.

Great to know and maybe I should read through all the subtitles on it. Fantastic info provided there!

 

Take Care

Semper Fi

Phil

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