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Some of my WWII Naval Aviator flight helmets


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I just bought a shell that came from the John Z. Colt estate. It is a Japanese shell and it is dated April 23rd 1945 Okinawa. This is the date when John Colt and his crew made a forced landing on the wrong side of the Okinawa airstrip and ended up in the section still Japanese held. He must have picked it up as a souvenir then. It will display really well with the helmet as they were both there that day. Shell is around 6 inches long.

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Got more information about the Okinawa emergency landing. Thank you to Maverickson (Dave) for all the information. Very interesting read. The below is a copy and paste from an email Dave sent me after talking to Lyman Fix's son:

 

"Found out the history behind the April 23, 1945 landing on Okinawa through Lyman Fix’s son. They landed at Kedena Air Field. Because of a hydraulic leak following a bombing mission against cannon installations on Okinawa. Had been armed with a single 2,000 lbs. Made a successful strike against guns were situated on reverse slope of a mountain range. Definitely landed under fire. As they were pelted by rock and earth from near by explosions from cannon fire as they taxied to the US held side of the Kedena.

Met by a (bearded) US Marine who then helped them gather the necessary tools (wrenches) and oil. All left behind by the Japanese. Got fixed up but it was late by the time they were finished. Not wanting to stay the night in the war zone they decided amongst themselves to depart even though the sunlight was waning. Problem being, the fleet had also moved 100 miles further out to sea. Worse yet their friendly recognition had failed and were considered a bogey.
In the end, quick talking got them out of being shot at by friendly fire. Close to dark conditions upon landing. My guess is that some pilot error ensued. Apparently they had a rough landing and the tail hook separated from the air craft. As a result the A/C crashing into the barrier that separated the landing area from the A/C parked on the deck. All seen on the Fix flight logs.
They must have been scrounging around for souvenirs during their time on the ground. I’m certain that there were Japanese spent shells just about every where they looked.
The Air Crew of Colt, Fix and Hawkins began when assigned to VT-98 (training squadron) in May of 1944. Then separated from VT-23 in July of 1945.
Ironic but saw a documentary film on The Battle of Okinawa last night on the Smithsonian channel. They spoke of the same large guns that Colt, Fix & Hawkins bombed that day which were creating havoc against the USMC during the battle.
According to the Son they bombed up hill of the gun positions. Thus creating a rock slide & let the rock debris cover up the gun positions."
Thanks again Dave for all the information, I hope you will post pictures of Colt's flight jacket when it is restored.
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Another setup that is nicely named and researched. This one is a AN6540 helmet with the early 3 side panels and reinforced oxy snaps named to Dennis E. Durick. Dennis Eugene Durick was born to Dennis and Lida (Olson) Durick on Aug. 18, 1918 at his parent’s home in White Butte, SD and died May 20th 2007.

 

ENS D. E. Durick, mentioned in a 3 page action report in Fold3, flying an F4F Wildcat in June 1943, on temporary duty from VF-28, assigned to VF-27. Then on his second combat tour with VC-4, flying FM2 Wildcats aboard USS White Plains from April-November 1944.

 

This is from him directly:

 

"Dennis was working in Jamestown, ND when he entered the service. The draft was getting close to me so in August of 1941 I went to Old Chaimberald Naval Air Fore Base in Minneapolis, MN and enlisted in the Naval Air Corp. I took my Primary Training at Wold Chamberland and advanced training Corpus Christi, Texas . I was commissioned an Officer in the United States Navy in November 1942. After training I was sent overseas and joined VF 28 at Guadalcannal. We were stationed on the Russell Islands where we conducted air strikes on Munda and we made the first two strikes on Bougaunville. We got ordered back to the States in October of 1943. In November 1943 I was transferred to VC4 aboard the USS White Plains. We were part of the 7th Fleet and our mission was support the ground troops. We part of the invasion of Saipan Tinian. We then headed for the Palau group of Islands to cover the occupation of Peleliu and Anguar. We then covered the invasion of Leyte. It was here that the Japanese Fleet hit our Task Force. Shellfire and a Japanese aircraft that hit the ship a glancing blow damaged the White Plains. Because of the condition of the ship we were ordered back to the States for repair. I spent the rest of the war in Zero Beach Florida as instructor in night fighters. I was discharged from the Navy in January 1946 in Jacksonville Florida. I was married to Maxine Smith in December 1949. We had three Children, Dave, Dennie and Bonnie."
And this is from his obituary:

"When World War II broke out, he chose to serve his country and enlisted in the U. S. Navy. There he earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander as a Navy fighter pilot. He spent two tours in the Pacific Campaign and saw heavy aerial combat. He was involved in the battles of Leyte and Guadalcanal. Gene learned to love the Navy and to hate war. He knew the true cost of America’s freedoms from personal sacrifice and in gratitude; he never took them for granted. His experiences left him with a deep reverence for his father God, and a call to service within his community."

 

Thanks to Paul for the mission report that I will attaching. It is really nice to have the helmet of a 2 tour Pacific veteran that saw action in Guadalcanal and Leyte. This setup was most likely the one he used on his second combat tour.

 

 

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My most recent purchase. Very interesting setup. This a WWII green nylon helmet that was modified pretty extensively by the pilot. First off 5 oxy snaps were added to the sides to hold the oxygen mask (it is extremely rare to find those nylon helmets with oxygen snaps). The second modification is something I had never ever seen done. The pilot added fur padding inside the doughnuts to cover the receivers. It's all about comfort I guess.

Last but not least the brow is completely missing which I had never seen on a nylon helmet. Sometimes you see them cut off but it looks like this one never had one or if it ever had one it was surgically removed to leave to trace whatsoever.

Very interesting setup. This one has seen a ton of use and is very grimy but that's how I like them. Even the contract tag is soiled and worn out

Unfortunately it is not named.

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Latest and greatest. Really happy to be the current caretaker of this setup. Doesn't get much better than this. Green USN issued deck helmet with TC66 held in place with some thick material (not chamois)

This setup is definitely unique, deck helmets with TC66 cups are harder to find than hen's teeth :). Also I had never seen this type of material (maybe sail cloth) used before. The loop for the goggle strap on the back is also unique, never seen one quite like it before but it gets the job done. Helmet is named to "Harwell". If anyone has any information on the pilot that would be great.

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US Navy green nylon helmets aren't "rare" as suggested by 'someone' above. A few examples with a wide variety and array of A-14 snaps.

 

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ID'ed, but illegible name and number. Has blue cowling canvas re-enforcements behind each Carr snap.

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If a helmet featuring an extra amount of snaps is out of the ordinary, this example features four nickel plated Carr snaps on each cheek, and one beneath the sewn chin strap totaling nine all together.

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