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MK I USN Preserver


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It may not look like much now, but that filthy life vest is one of the Holy Grails of NavAir collecting, the Mk1. Uniformly hated by almost everyone who wore it, many were conveniently "lost during operations" so that the newer - and far more comfortable - Mae West we are used to seeing would be issued as a replacement. Because of this they are rather rare. But look at any photo from The Canal, Midway, etc., and you will see the Mk1. Hence their desirability.

 

I went to a tiny local militaria show last Saturday at our area community college. It is a Friday-Saturday show, so I arrived after everything had been well picked over the first day. I about swallowed my teeth when I saw the vest hanging on the wall. And when I saw the pricetag, I dammed near broke my wrist getting my wallet out! I got it for about a third of the going price.

 

After I left the show, I developed a theory why I had been so lucky. The general focus of both the dealers and the buyers seemed to be either German stuff or paratrooper gear. No one on either side of the tables were paying attention to mere Swabbies!

 

Dustin, the USN equipment guru here at the Forum has been able to ID the vest as being made before June 1940. This makes it even more desirable as it is an early version.

 

Some CAREFUL cleaning has begun. The focus has to be on making sure none of the nomenclature is damaged. One good factor is filth is good. Jeff Warner's new book on USN flight gear contains a lot of previously-unseen original color photos. In many where the Mk1 is being worn, they are almost as dirty and dull as mine.

 

I am still giggling! twothumbup.gif

 

Tom

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Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

WWII APS

 

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**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

 

 

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Congratulations on finally full filling your quest for the vest. This is what makes our hobby so interestng and challenging.

Especially when a scarce and hard to find item is found. It's been my experience that when I focus on wanting and finding a scarce item for my collection, as scarce as the item might be, I always find it. I suppose it's the focusing on it that does it. Probably before you decided/focused on wanting the item, you may have passed one by/up a number of times. Ray

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Congratulations on finally full filling your quest for the vest. This is what makes our hobby so interestng and challenging.

Especially when a scarce and hard to find item is found. It's been my experience that when I focus on wanting and finding a scarce item for my collection, as scarce as the item might be, I always find it. I suppose it's the focusing on it that does it. Probably before you decided/focused on wanting the item, you may have passed one by/up a number of times. Ray

 

Actually, no. This is only the second or third I have seen in all those years and the others were WAY out of my price range.

 

Tom

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

WWII APS

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gif

donation2009.gifdonation2011.gif

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

 

 

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Nice vest!

 

Here is a pic that is part of a grouping to a VS-6 Radioman who was KIA on 2/1/42 showing the enlisted men wearing them. ( At least I think they are MK 1's)

 

Kurt

 

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!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Yup, that's them! Notice how some seem to be bright yellow while others quite dull and dark.

 

Tom

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

WWII APS

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gif

donation2009.gifdonation2011.gif

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

 

 

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Kurt, nice photo! one thing I noticed was the man in middle row third from the right is not wearing a MK-1! check out this cropped picture with man on his right, he is forsure wearing a MK-1 the thing that stands out the most is the width of the vest going over shoulders is wider on the Mk-1 than man on right and the shape of the collar is slightly different also it seems to be more shinny.Now the navy is interesting because they seem to have had a wide variety of vests in use in the 1930's and some early known vests were silvered in color.The vest worn on man on right seems to be more of a B-4 vest shape.I have Identified 3 odd ball vests used by the navy and this seems to be #4.

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Kurt, nice photo! one thing I noticed was the man in middle row third from the right is not wearing a MK-1! check out this cropped picture with man on his right, he is forsure wearing a MK-1 the thing that stands out the most is the width of the vest going over shoulders is wider on the Mk-1 than man on right and the shape of the collar is slightly different also it seems to be more shinny.Now the navy is interesting because they seem to have had a wide variety of vests in use in the 1930's and some early known vests were silvered in color.The vest worn on man on right seems to be more of a B-4 vest shape.I have Identified 3 odd ball vests used by the navy and this seems to be #4.

 

Dustin, your attention to detail astounds me. I look at the photo and see 19 guys in Mk1's. (Can't see the forest for the trees.) You look at it and I'll bet that one jumped out at you like it was on fire! twothumbup.gif

 

Tom

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

WWII APS

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gif

donation2009.gifdonation2011.gif

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

 

 

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