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Some of my WWII Naval Aviator flight helmets


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Latest and greatest. M450 with red TC66 earcups in excellent condition. The red TC66 earcups do not usually withstand the test of time really well but on this setup they are perfect. The setup is named to M.J. Perry, I haven't found any info yet on the pilot. There is slight damage to the chinstrap but it doesn't detract from the overall great condition of the setup.

The helmet came with a bunch of other stuff but I don't have it yet. A MKI goggle set will be installed once I receive it, right now I am displaying it with a AN6530 pair of goggles.

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Cool helmet. Condition looks very very nice except a right side. What you got more from this guy?

 

Cheers,

Jerry

Thanks Jerry, I got a pair of MK I goggles, mint still in package anbh1a receivers and cord. Shoulder ranks (2 pairs still in wrapper) an e6b navigational computer. Some more stuff. I will post pics when I get them. Helmet will be displayed with the named MKI goggles.

And yes the helmet is in amazing shape. In any condition I love the TC66 setups but when they come in great shape like this it makes it all the more special. Those TC66 setups don't grow on trees :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Latest and greatest. One of my few ace setups.

I originally bought this helmet thinking that it might have been used by a Navy pilot since it has the Navy contracted ANBH1A flat sided receivers. I had never seen a A11 with that type of receivers before and the AN6530 looked like they were the Navy contracted AN6530 (grey pad).

When I got the helmet i realized that the ANBH1A receivers had always been attached to that helmet and that the goggles had been modified. I had never seen a modification like that before. Instead of the glass lenses issued with AN6530 goggles it had really thick plastic lenses with "Gas Mask" written on the corner. They fit perfectly well and it turns out that they are from the Navy contracted MkIII gas mask (thank you Paul for the information). I assume the pilot wanted the safety of a plastic lenses versus using the original glass lenses and risking an eye. Since those lenses are double the thickness of the original AN6530 the metal rim stitched to the cushion was modified to allow the extra thickness. A simple solution was to cut the metal trim where the hole for the frame peg goes into, allowing for more room.

Turns out that this setup that has the AAF A-11 helmet with Navy contracted goggles, Navy ANBH1A receivers and Navy MKIII gas mask lenses was actually owned by a AAF fighter pilot named Douglas Scott Thropp Jr. The AAF used a lot of Navy stuff so i am not surprised.

 

Douglas Scott Thropp Jr. was an ace with the 431st Fighter Squadron of the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific. He shot down 5 enemy planes. His most famous mission was Tom Mcguire's (38 victories and 2nd highest american score) last one.

I found the following info online:

"On Jan. 7, 1945, Tommy McGuire led a flight of four planes on an early morning fighter sweep over the Japanese airdrome on Negros Island. Flying McGuire's wing was Capt. Edwin Weaver, whom McGuire had given demerits to when they were cadets in San Antonio. Major Jack Rittmayer and Lt. Douglas Thropp formed the second element. All were veteran combat pilots. The P-38's each carried two 160 gallon external fuel tanks. They spotted a single Japanese fighter coming right at them. They departed Marsten Strip around 0615 and leveled off at 10,000 feet, but in the vicinity of Negros the weather forced their descent to 6,000 feet. McGuire led Daddy Flight to an airdrome over Fabrica Strip and made a futile attempt at provoking an enemy response by circling the area for approximately ten minutes. They were now flying at 1,700 feet.

When this effort failed, McGuire proceeded to another airdrome on the western coast of the island. En route, Rittmayer throttled back while breaking through the clouds and became temporarily separated from the rest of the flight. McGuire ordered his pilots to regroup, but learned that Rittmayer's aircraft encountered engine trouble. Thropp, therefore, moved into the number-three position.

Suddenly, Weaver spotted a Japanese fighter heading in their direction, 500 feet below and 1,000 yards ahead. The Ki-43 Oscar, piloted by Warrant Officer Akira Sugimoto, passed below McGuire's P-38 before either pilot could react. Meanwhile, Sergeant Mixunori Fukuda, piloting a Ki-84 Frank, was attempting to land and noticed his comrade's plight. Sugimoto fired into Thropp's aircraft, destroying one of the turbo-chargers. The Lieutenant's first thought was to drop his belly tank, but McGuire anticipated his intention and ordered his pilots to refrain from doing this. It is assumed he issued this order to avoid an early return to Leyte, thereby scrubbing the mission.

Rittmayer, meanwhile, had rejoined the flight and maneuvered his malfunctioning fighter to an advantageous position. He fired into Sugimoto's Oscar, frightening the Warrant Officer off Thropp's tail, but the enemy pilot didn't flee as anticipated. Instead, he turned his fighter tightly and fired several long bursts into Weaver's P-38. Weaver summoned McGuire's assistance.

McGuire's response was immediate as he turned sharply to the left, but something went wrong as his Lightning shuddered and threatened to stall. He sharply increased his turn in an attempt to get a shot at the enemy fighter, but his plane lost momentum and snap-rolled to the left. It was last seen in an inverted position with the nose down about 30-degrees.

Weaver momentarily lost sight of McGuire's fighter, but a second later witnessed an explosion. Sugimoto broke off his attack against Weaver just before McGuire's plane crashed. Rittmayer and Thropp pursued the damaged Oscar as it climbed to the north, and the young Lieutenant managed to deliver one last burst into Sugimoto's aircraft before it crash-landed in the jungle. He died shortly thereafter from six bullet wounds to the chest. Now Sergeant Fukuda arrived on scene and charged head-on at Thropp's P-38, but Weaver recovered from his ordeal in time to fire at the Frank. Rittmayer turned his aircraft to assist, but Fukuda caught the Major in a vulnerable position and fired a burst into his aircraft. The bullets struck the P-38 with telling effect, and it exploded outside the village of Pinanamaan. McGuire had crashed near this area a few minutes earlier.

Thropp's aircraft bellowed smoke from its engine, while Fukuda tried to advance on Weaver. When this failed, Fukuda chased Thropp and discharged a burst from his guns, but the lieutenant escaped to the relative safety of a cloudbank. Weaver sought to locate the Frank, but could not; he and Thropp returned to Dulag about ten minutes apart. They gave their combat reports, which disagreed on several points; and it wasn't until after the war that it became known that two, not just one, Japanese planes were involved.

It can be said that McGuire was never shot down by enemy fire, only a split second violation of his rules for combat resulted in his death. Some critics have maintained that McGuire's order to keep the tanks was greedy and foolish; supposedly he wanted to score a 'quick kill' on the lone Japanese plane.

Charles Martin, McGuire's biographer makes a persuasive case for other motivations. McGuire almost certainly ordered his flight to keep their drop tanks so that they could complete their mission. There's not much question that McGuire wanted the three extra kills he needed to surpass Bong's record. But it seems unlikely that he would have been foolish enough to violate his own rules of combat in pursuit of that goal. Far more likely he thought the single Japanese fighter would pass by his four Lightnings, and then he could go about his mission."

 

 

 

Some more info about the mission from History.net:

 

"Even America’s second-ranking ace fell victim to the Ki-43’s maneuverability—and his own overconfidence. On January 7, 1945, four P-38Ls from the 475th Fighter Group were patrolling between the Philippine islands of Mindoro and Negros at 1,500 feet when a lone Oscar came at them from below. Captain Ed­win Weaver and his squadron commander, Lt. Col. Thomas B. McGuire Jr., turned to attack it, but Master Sgt. Akira Sugimoto of the 54th Sentai evaded them and fired a burst into the left engine of 1st Lt. Douglas S. Thropp Jr.’s Lightning. Major Jack Rittmayer, a visiting Thirteenth Air Force pilot, drove the Ki-43 off Thropp’s tail, but Sugimoto then attacked Weaver. Hastening to Weaver’s aid—and eager to get his 39th victory—McGuire pulled into a tight turn. As he came within range of the elusive Oscar, his P-38, weighted down by the auxiliary fuel tanks he had refused to jettison, abruptly fell into a full stall, snap-rolled onto its back and crashed in flames on Negros. For sacrificing his life to save Weaver, McGuire received a posthumous Medal of Honor."

 

 

It i a mission that was discussed many times. I am still looking for info of his other missions and for more pictures. It would be great to find pictures of him wearing the helmet. He was first an Infantry officer and then transitioned to AAF in 1943 and was part of Class 44A in Williams Field Arizona (i will post a few pics of the graduation book). He was born 10 Jul. 1923 and passed away on 15 Apr. 2004.
1st Lt Douglas S. Thropp Jr.
P38 Fighter Pilot
S Pacific - WWII
5 Victories Air Combat
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal Phiippine Liberation Medal
1942-1945

 

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Very nice set. Just curious how did you tie the set up to Thropp? Is a part of it named?

 

JD

AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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Nice.... Did you get anything else with it for provenance down the road? I collect ace material, so this one naturally spiked my interest.

 

JD

AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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  • 4 weeks later...

1092 Winter flight helmet with AO goggles. Very simple setup but I love the winter helmets. One oddity is that the pilot added puffs on the inside, no commonly seen on shearling helmets

 

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Really nice.... both helmet set up and great jacket... congratulations!

Interested in US Naval and Marine aviation history, aircrew wings & insignia.

WW2 US Navy and Marine Grumman Wildcat, Avenger & Douglas SBD aircraft.

Also interested in US 5th AF in Australia.


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