Sunday, July 27, 2008

United States Combat Vehicle Crewman's Helmet (CVC)

eighth in a series of tanker helmet posts

Make way for American foreign policy!

Yep, this is how we yanks do it now, all big stick, and speaking very loudly. And now that the Abrams tank has replaced the U.S. Department of State here's the helmet our fighting men and women are wearing to protect their noggins while operating in armored vehicles. 

Behold the US Combat Vehicle Crewman's (CVC) helmet manufactured by those fine folks at Gentex Inc.  in Carbondale Pennsylvania, who've been in the biz since Vietnam days.
Right side view with boom microphone missing.
This newer version of the CVC  helmet (below) illustrates the mic in place.
Left side view shows the only other deficit of my example of this helmet, note one of the fastening straps for the cranial plate is missing.
Top view demonstrates the scuffing that typifies a "salty" helmet.
The significance of this tactical marking on the rear of the helmet is unknown to me.

----------------This Just In:------------
The numbers 4-6 usually are the vehicle number. We did this when I was in
> the Field Artillery. The helmets were assigned to that self-propelled gun
> and needed to be counted during inventory. We also painted logos on the
> helmets and sometimes put nicknames in them. I have one I happen to bring
> home one day after training. I also got 2 empty shells the supply sergeant
> was throwing in the dumpster.
> Tim W.

---------- back to regular programming--------

The inside is extremely well padded, and allows a great deal of airflow.  This view also begins our tour of the integrated electronics package of this helmet.

Headphones are well padded and recessed to provide acoustic insulation as well as comfort.
Throughout this helmet, component by component, there are a wealth of markings, these on the send/receive surfaces:

-----------reader comment --------
The function of the spring loaded toggle switch is to talk over the mike.
 When you pushed it back to the locked position, you can talk only internal
 to your crew. When it moved it forward, you can talk on the radio, that is
 why it was spring-loaded to the front. There also is a "spaghetti" cord
 that plugs into the helmet and into the vehicle CVC box.
 I used to love hearing new Privates (and Lieutenants) push the switch to
 the front and start cussing over the radio.
 Tim W.

This robust, spring loaded clamp holds the cabling in place at the lower rear of the helmet, nice and snug where it won't get entangled within the cramped confines of an AFV.
Below are the original Gentex Inc. fabricator's models demonstrating the conceptual R&D that went in to this fundamentally well designed CVC helmet:
That's right, a hard outer shell protecting a delicious chocolate center (Marine Corps model has peanut center). Same concept, except M&Ms don't use velcro and the CVC helmet won't melt in your hand or  in your mouth.
Although non-ballistic, this shell can take quite a bit of abuse.

As with all other components of this helmet, the shell is extremely well marked.

Below, the large velcro panel that attaches the shell (the "cranial plate") to the liner is very evident.

Looking quite vulnerable without the outer shell, the liner somewhat resembles the Soviet-style tanker's lid profiled in an earlier post, wouldn't you agree?

The strap at the nape of the neck allows for adjusting the snugness for a custom fit for the tanker...
and, when fastened, provides us with yet another piece of manufacturer's documentation.  This helmet has more marks on it than your dad's Buick after prom night!
The chinstrap is comfortable with no surprises.
And these large snap/strap combinations (along with the velcro) secure the shell to the liner.
Hey G.I. Wave if you like this helmet!
accession number: MOA hmar 298.78.95
United States Combat Vehicle Crewman's Helmet
Acquired 2007, ebay.
Purchase price :$25.00
Condition: very good

Watch for new posts every Monday
And while you're in the neighborhood, why not slip over to my toy soldier blog
to catch up on the latest regarding the Civil War combat that continues in my garden.


Craig said...

Great photo essay on the CVC. As a "sigo" for an Armored unit in the mid to late 1990s I became very familiar with these. In fact, from time to time I'll clear out an old box and find broken or discarded parts that somehow tracked their way home. The clip attached around the audio cable, descending from the ear piece, was typically clipped onto the pocket flap of the CVC suit when worn. This served to keep the cable policed up on the front of the wearer, and at the same time offer some strain relief should it get tugged.

mannie said...


Thanks for the insight. Always great to get it straight from the source.


John said...


2 quick comments.

1. No, it does not circulate air well. I remember many a day/week/month at FT Stewart, GA, in the 1980s sweating my head off under one of these as a company commander. Consequently, when I was in Germany, it kept our head warm...until you took your CVC off and you ears froze off as the sweat hardened.

2. The shell is now made from Kevlar...which will add about 2 pounds to the weight of it.

All that said it was a good piece of gear...unless you had 3 radios squawking at you at teh same time as your driver screams at you as well.

Anonymous said...

found the whole shell this christmas in 1 peice,2 straps