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Some of my WWII Naval Aviator flight helmets


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  • 1 month later...

I lucked out and I just bought 2 helmets named to 2 different pilots from VB-82 who both won the Navy Cross. They came from the same estate sale. A beautiful modified holster was also acquired at the same time. VB-82 flew SB2C-3 Helldivers off the USS Bennington from February to May 1945. VB-82 was aboard USS Bennington for their only war cruise and only had 15 aircraft, down from the original complement of 24. They entered the war in February 10, 1945 and participated in Task Force 58.1s attacks on Tokyo in the middle of that month. This was followed by ground support missions for the Iwo Jima invasion and a second strike on Tokyo on 2/25. March included strikes on the Japanese mainland and attacks on Okinawa, prior to the April 1st invasion. On April 7, they participated in the mass air attack on the super-battleship Yamato, scoring 3 hits reportedly. Remainder of April and May was split between more strikes on Japan and close air support over Okinawa. Relieved on May 14 and headed home.

 

The first helmet is named to Francis R. Ferry who received both the Silver Star and the Navy Cross. THe helmet is a deck helmet converted to a flight helmet with the addition of oxy snaps, receivers and straps for the goggles. The pilot stenciled his initials on the chin strap.

 

Navy Cross citation:

 

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Francis "R" Ferry, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber of Bombing Squadron EIGHTY-TWO (VB-82), attached to the U.S.S. BENNINGTON (CV-20), in action against major units of the enemy Japanese Fleet in the East China Sea near Kyushu, Japan, on 7 April 1945. Braving intense anti-aircraft fire and adverse weather conditions, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Ferry pressed home a determined attack against a hostile battleship (YAMAMOTO) at the center of the force and, succeeding in scoring a direct bomb hit, contributed materially to the infliction of damage and subsequent sinking of the Japanese ship. His aggressive fighting spirit and devotion to the fulfillment of a hazardous mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0592 (July 4, 1945)

Action Date: April 7, 1945

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade

Company: Bombing Squadron 82 (VB-82)

Regiment: Air Group 82 (AG-82)

Division: U.S.S. Bennington (CV-20)

 

 

Silver Star Citation:

 

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Francis "R" Ferry, United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber of Bombing Squadron EIGHTY-TWO (VB-82), attached to the U.S.S. BENNINGTON (CV-20), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Japanese Inland Sea near the Naval Base at Kure, Japan, on 19 March 1945. Participating in a strike against a new enemy battleship and its screening force of destroyers and cruisers, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Ferry braved intense anti-aircraft fire from the hostile force and surrounding shore batteries to press home a determined strike and, by his courage and skill, contributed to the infliction of damage on the Japanese vessel. His outstanding airmanship and devotion to the fulfillment of a hazardous mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander, 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0592 (July 4, 1945)

Action Date: March 19, 1945

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade

Company: Bombing Squadron 82 (VB-82)

Regiment: Air Group 82 (AG-82)

Division: U.S.S. Bennington (CV-20)

 

 

 

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Summary of the VB-82 strike on the Yamato with the list of 11 of its pilots who took part in the raid which I found on the Bennington website

 

The following 11 VB82 (*)pilots and (*)aircrew took off from the decks of CV 20 Bennington, about 1030 on 7 April 1945.
They led the Yamato (and screening destroyers) attack ("Battle of the East China Sea"), at about 1240, two hours later.
Over 300 additional aircraft from a handful of other Essex Class carriers attached to Task Group 58.1, followed.
Sources vary but it appears at least 5 bombs and 15 torpoedos sunk Yamato.
VB82 is credited with scoring the first two bomb hits, which destroyed Yamato's radar room and started a fire that never was put out. Two hours later, Yamato was sunk.
Over half her screening destroyers were sunk or had to be skuttled.
All of Bennington's participating navy pilots flew SB2C Helldivers and received Navy Crosses.
Her lone Marine pilot who got airborne that day, flew a Corsair (combination fighter/ bomber - with bomb), and also received a Navy Cross.
The following information is from two seperately dated lists of VB82 structure, one dated 31 March 1945 and the other dated (5 May 1945).



Pilot Aircrew - 31 March 1945 (Aircrew - 5 May 1945) Plane #

Section 1:

1) *Wood, H., Jr., Lt. Comdr. *Reed, H. H., ACRM (AQA)(T) *(same) (Plane 81) 2) *Ferry, F. "R", Lt. (jg) Johnson, F. R., AOM2c(T) (Warner, F. C., ARM3c) (Plane 83) 3) *Corey, R. L., Lt. (jg) Mylnek, J. S., AMM3c (Rush, E. L., ARM2c(T) (Plane 82) 4) *Sieber, E. A., Lt. (jg) Rush, E. L.. ARM2c(T) (Santaferra, A.(n), ARM3c) (Plane 84)

Section 2

5) *Derby, J. A., Lt. *Bell, R. J., ARM1c(T) *(same) (Plane 89) 6) *Schumacher, R. E., Lt. (jg) Wade, R. D., Jr. ARM1c(T) (Sorbach or Zorbach, A. J., ARM2c(T) (Plane 92) 7) *Kuhn, W. R., Lt (jg) Davis, G. M., ARM2c(T) *(MacAlpine, J. G., Jr., ARM2c(T) (Plane 90) 8) *DeLancy, W. J., Lt. (jg) *MacAlpine, J. G., Jr., ARM2c(T) (DeLancy not on this list) (none listed)

Section 3

9) *Cahill, R. B., Lt. (jg) Keegan, J. C., ARM2c (T) (Hector, J. T., ARM3c) (Plane 91) 10) *Fuller, J. C., Ensign *Williams, C. "T", Jr., ARM3c
(Fuller/ Williams "MIA" - [replacement pilot] killed in Yamato Action) - 11) *Munson, Melvin J. LT(jg) *Stewart, D. J., ARM2c *(same) (Plane 88)
Verified and provided by Ray Greene ARM3c of VB-82

 

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Second setup is named on the inside to Melvin James Munson. Munson was also a pilot with VB-82 and took part in the Yamato and Tokyo raids. He also won the Navy Cross and he is listed as being one of the 11 pilots of VB-82 who attacked the Yamato.

His helmet is named on the inside and VB-82 is also written inside. The helmet is a very heavily modified AN6540 helmet. I had never seen one so modified. List of mods:

1-goggles straps rigger added

2-oxy snaps added

3-Size was shortened by stitching the top section and creating a crest.

4- extra chamois piece added above the brow section

His Navy Cross citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Melvin James Munson, United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron EIGHTY-TWO (VB-82), attached to the U.S.S. BENNINGTON (CV-20), in action against enemy Japanese forces at Kure, Japan, on 19 March 1945. Participating in a coordinated dive-bombing strike on a new enemy battleship and its destroyer-cruiser screen near a hostile Naval base, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Munson dived through an intense barrage of anti-aircraft fire to press home a determined attack and score repeated hits and near misses which contributed materially to the damage inflicted on the Japanese ship. His outstanding airmanship and devotion to the fulfillment of a hazardous mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0592 (July 4, 1945)

Action Date: March 19, 1945

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade

Company: Bombing Squadron 82 (VB-82)

Regiment: Carrier Air Group 82 (CAG-82)

Division: U.S.S. Bennington (CV-20)

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The Munson flight helmet is one of the most unique modifications I've ever seen. It's a great helmet and one of kind, Great Find. Gregg

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The Munson flight helmet is one of the most unique modifications I've ever seen. It's a great helmet and one of kind, Great Find. Gregg

 

Thanks Gregg, I had never seen such extensive mods on a AN series helmet either. Definitely one of a kind. I attached a picture of the inside

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Thanks for pic of the holster. Nice ammo loops added!

 

Cheers,

Jerry

 

Thanks Jerry. Yes the ammo loop is great. It is actually free floating on the leather strap.

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  • 2 weeks later...

While checking pictures of pilots on the USS Bennington I realized that most of them were sporting AN-6530 goggles so I changed my display from the M1944 goggles to the AN6530:

 

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  • 1 month later...

Very interesting setup. It looks like the typical TC66 earcups are covered with the leather earcups on top of the TH37 receivers. I had never seen that done before.

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  • 1 month later...

Something you don't see everyday. 1065 B8 goggles with added nose piece for more comfort when using the A-14 oxy mask. I had seen this done with very rarely with the AN6530 goggles (I personally own 2 pairs with that modification) but I had never seen it done on a 1065 B8 pair of goggles. THis one is the USAAF version of the 1065 but it was also used by Navy pilots. I own 2 groupings of Navy pilots which include the exact same 1065 B8 goggles). The modification is done with metal, heavy duty canvas and tape.

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Nice goggles. Your anothers pairs are also marked B8 at the side?

 

Regards,

Jerry

 

Thank you, yes they are.

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Another helmet that is extremely rare. M450 with cloth covered oyster earcups. I haven't seen many of these around. I personally own 2 and a half now (the half is one helmet I have with one regular cup and one cloth covered cup). This one is salty and looks like it went in the water at least once. It is a huge size, I had to get a special oversized styrofoam head for it.

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Nice helmet Tom. Looks salty for sure.

 

In free time can your put more light on your two pairs of 1065 B8 marked goggle from USN pilots?

 

Thanks,

Jerry

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This one is not strictly WWII as it has post war components and looks like a perfect setup for the Korean War. Helmet is WWII vintage with added reinforced oxy snaps, post war mike and post war receivers. The helmet was modified by having a good luck ribbon added to the rear. the brow was cut off and the mike was also customized. I bought it because while not strictly WWII it is a perfect example of a Korean war flight helmet with added personal touches that I like so much .

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