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Some of my WWII Naval Aviator flight helmets


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Latest and greatest, 1092 flight helmet with TC66 earcups and th37 receivers. The history on this one is amazing, really happy to be its current curator. Goggles came with it and are also named to the same Gunner: W.L. Smith. The goggle pad is cracked and dried out but I salvaged it because it is also named and there is a number painted on it, so for the sake of preserving history I decided to display it as is after fixing it up a bit so the setup is 100% what the gunner used in 1945.

W.L. Smith was an AOM3c with VT-9, He was a turret gunner in a TBM Avenger. They deployed on USS Lexington from February to March 1945, then transferred to USS Yorktown from March to June 1945.

On April 7, 1945, when Yamato was sunk he was a gunner on Kirwin's (pilot) Avenger. The crew members are not mentioned by name in the Squadron History, only the pilots, but W.L. Smith was Kirwin's gunner (see VT-9 Roster). Four pilots of VT-9 were credited with sinking the Yamato and Kirwin was one of them (a lot of pilots took part in sinking the Yamoto but it only sank after those 4 VT-9 pilots had direct hits on the battleship) . I will attach the action report for the Squadron history, it is a very interesting read. Thank you Paul for all the help in finding out the history of this helmet.

 

 

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Newest setup. Nicely named AN6542 helmet with goggles which saw plenty of action and is oh so well documented. It is named to John Z. Colt who was a pilot with VT-23 on the USS Langley. It is named both on the helmet and the goggle strap to Ens. J. Z. Colt. On the brow it says "Ens. John Z. Colt VT-23" in very faint letters). Thanks to Dave (Maverickson) for digging up a lot of interesting facts about John Colt's service with VT-23. Colt flew many strikes against Okinawa, Amami Shima / Jima and Kikai Jima. From what I have gleaned VT-23 joined the entire air group for a concentrated

group effort to hit the airstrips from where kamikaze planes were taking off.

 

This is from his obituary: "Enlisting in the Navy he served in the Pacific Theater as a Grumman TBM pilot aboard the carrier USS Langley CVL-27. Their most notable battle was at Okinawa. A story learned from his crew tells of a forced landing on an enemy occupied island, where John repaired the TBM, then flew the plane, his radioman Fix, and gunner Hawkins safely back to the fleet"

 

The island he landed on was Okinawa on April 23rd 1945, it is mentioned in Lyman Fix' log book and it looks like the airstrip was partially held be the USMC on one side and the Japanese held the

portion on the other. Problem being Colt landed on the Japanese held side of the Airstrip. It looks like they still managed to fix the plane and take off after that. All this information came from Lyman Fix' family (Colt's Air Crewman).
Aside from the strikes and the landing on enemy held territory there is another well documented close call with that crew. There is an article done by Lyman Fix(Colt’s Air Crewman) that involves Fix, Hawkins (2nd aircrewman) & Colt about a crash landing on the USS langley and getting out of the plane & then pulled back up aboard. There were lots of USN type perfectly clear & concise pix made of the incident. The accident was a result of coming aboard the USS Langley with a flat tire. I will add pictures of the entire article and and pictures of the actually crash landing with a picture of Colt himself in full flight gear being hoisted back on to the deck of the USS Langley.
I also got copies of Lyman Fix' log book with all the strikes they flew and the accidents they had. I am going to post them as well. Knowing that this is the exact setup Colt used during all his missions is priceless to me and I am so glad I am now the custodian of this setup.
Again thanks to Dave (Maverickson) for his hours of research and invaluable help on this.

 

 

 

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