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APH-6C / MS-22001 - (USN / USMC) 1971


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Greetings all !
Another helmet from my collection I'd like to introduce you is this naval (most probably US Navy) APH-6C set.

Pilot and squadron are unfortunately unknown, but perhaps some of you people might provide hypotheses based on the following photos and informations ;) .


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Helmet is a smoothly patined 1971 Sierra APH-6C, with a wonderful white / red reflective taping.
It shows bands, triangles, diamonds, one heart, and a puzzling sort of sun on the back.

 

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Size is Large, with earphones and plug / cord present, both in great condition.
Comes with the iconic one-piece Sierra "Ramshorn" dual-visor housing and its blue knobs.

 

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Mask is a Medium-size MS-22001 fitted with the Hardman shell and "butterfly" bayonets.

Comes complete too, with hose, mic, and MC3-A plug.

Dated 1967-68-69.

 

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Issues and restoration


Two things I noticed when I took a closer look at this set when I recieved it were an unusual wear around one of the helmet's side screws, and the roughly fully-painted Hardman shell (with paintbrush marks that partially masked a few structural / paint cracks).
In the meantime, after searching the web in vain for an ID of the squadron, I had the surprise to find auction pictures of this particular helmet set from only a year ago, two of them being pretty revealing concerning the issues I mentioned above.
See for yourselves (left : the state in which I bought it / right : auction pictures)

 

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Pictures spoke for themselves : the Hardman shell used to have a fair ammount of patina, and more important, the helmet had a nice boom mike attached on the famous C-shaped mount - thus the wear around the side screw...
I felt so disappointed when I realized that, for some reason, a former owner repainted the mask shell and removed the whole boom set, for I'm the kind of collector that intends to preserve his helmets in the most accurate state historically speaking.

 

Knowing this, I had no shame in removing the newly-added paint off the Hardman shell, cautiously using 3000 grains water sanding paper and white spirit.

It didn't come off easily, but my efforts eventually revealed the same patina marks the auction pictures showed (some of them being slightly accentuated due to the sanding, but I prefer this 10 times to the former paintjob anyway). At least, the mask was matching the grouping.

 

As for the boom, I've been searching the web for the C-shaped rail mount and any microphone of this period (for I haven't been able to identify the specific mic from the picture, but there are many other types that would be accurate to APH-6s of this era in the Navy).

So far, a few mics showed up (MT-521 and M-87), but they are no use without the C-mount I cannot find.

I'm not giving up on it, and I hope some day I'll be able to restore this helmet in its full glory.

 


As always, any comment / hypothesis / additional information / boom mike (?!!) is perfectly welcome !
Hope you enjoy the share ;).

Cheers, Vark_07

 

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Thanks for your reply.
I checked everything I could find on US Navy VT-squadrons, especially their emblemas, but no noticeable symbol (diamonds / "sun") that could be related to my helmet showed up. White / red geometric taping being incredibly common in USN / USMC units on APH-6s of this era (see the photo montage I did below), the ID task is sure tricky.

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On a side note, looking at pilots inside their T-28s / T-34s / T-2s etc. during this search (for pictures of Navy VT-squadron helmets alone are so hard to find), I remarked that almost every helmet in training squadrons -and many other units- at that time (60s-70s) did not feature the velcro square dedicated to fix the distress strobe on the visor housing. I guess it appeared later on a more systematic basis.

Could this be a clue somehow ?

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Given the time period...it's more likely it could be just a random personalized tape job to no particular squadron. 

RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


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Indeed (and alas), considering the huge ammount of APH-6s I found on the web featuring these kind of markings (only the more remarkable / coolest I put on the photo montage), this is my guess too.

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The helmet in the top right hand corner of the photo montage belonged to (then) Lt. K W Johnson USNR.

There were some other pieces listed from that collection as well that I missed out on, CS/FRP-1, sage green SV-1, etc..

Still trying to find some history on the helmet .

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

"Life's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get".

 

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Well, thanks to an incredibly kind donation from a member of this forum (Wayward Son - thank you again so much !), the long-searched and dreamed boom C-shaped mount flew all the way across the Atlantic to help me complete my helmet's restoration (see "issues & restoration" in the first post).
 

It was in perfect condition, aside from a light verdigris corrosion I was easily able to remove using a quick vinegar bath. A gentle WD-40 spray in the rail axis to make it rotate like new, and that was it !
Here are a few close-ups of the markings I find interesting to share.

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Now that I have the proper mount, I've just ordered the boom mike to fit it in (the closest I could get to the old pictures of this helmet I had found).
So I'm glad to say that the next updates will hopefully show the assembly of the whole boom setup, and the completed restoration of this APH-6 at the same time :).
Cheers !

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  • 2 weeks later...

I eventually recieved the boom mic assembly from a famous aviation parts' US dealer yesterday.

As you may notice, it happened to be exactly the same model as shown on the old pictures I dug on the web, which I was not so sure about when I placed my order !

 

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To whom it may concern, and for reference purposes, here's the list of the featured parts :

  • C-shaped bracket : MT-522A/U
  • microphone : M-95B/UR
  • boom assembly : M-96B/A
  • cord : U-173/U

I'll be posting soon a few pictures of the fitted bracket and the whole completed helmet ;).

Cheers !

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Less than 2 months after I posted this thread, and thanks to the kindness of Bradford here that sent me the bracket I was hopelessly looking for, my APH-6C set restoration is finally complete. Pictures speak louder than words, so here you go ;). A very satisfying sight indeed !

 

Cheers to all ! - Vark_07

 

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Thanks for your comments gentlemen :).

 

 

To my knowledge, Mac, USN "HM-" mine warfare squadrons were only equipped with MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters (and still are if I'm not mistaken) ; that would make SPH-3s helmets much more relevant to me for that era, even if I've seen very few APH-6s reportedly used in rotary wing squadrons (built-in bayonet receivers were obviously useless in choppers, and the energy absorbing liner / sound protection requirements weren't the same as for SPH models).

 

That said, I'm rather positive this one is a fixed wing aircraft helmet given the 0² mask coming along and numerous similar configurations from VA / VMA / VMO / VF / VAQ and VAW squadrons of the 70's I've found on the web.

Anyway, thanks for your time and contribution ;).

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