Sunday, September 28, 2008

United States Civil Defense "OCD" WWII

second in a series of five civil defense posts

"Don't Scream", is always good advice

The World War Two homefront in the United States had already learned a lot from our friends in Britain regarding air raids and civil defense.

These spotlights and tracers converge on a false alarm high in the sky over Los Angeles.

Early on in that war there was already an organized structure of roles and responsibilities in place for trained, enthusiastic civilians.

Every specialized job had its own identifying insignia, quite a dazzling array!

I think the pinetree insignia had something to do with automobile deoderizers.

Pictured here from the homefront of Grand Rapids, Michigan is the typical "Office of Civil Defense" steel helmet of WWII.

The generic CD insignia is a slide-on water transfer.

Although many US M1917 helmets were recycled for the Civil Defense role, these "OCD" helmets were unique and had, as evident here, a much deeper bowl than the "tin lid" of WWI.

This symmetrical helmet, stamped out of steel may have come from the same Detroit machinery that was stamping out automotive hubcaps prior to US entry into the war.

Don't mess with the "Arsenal of Democracy".

The interior shows a suspension system very similar to the US M1 helmet liner.

The property stamp on the underside of the brim.

Simple size adjustment provided a snug, custom-fit for the owner, in this case a woman from...

Grand Rapids Michigan.

The chinstrap (and suspension) is a cotton twill, secured to a spot-welded bail.

Close-up of the generic Civil Defense insignia.

Our aunts and uncles, moms and dads who donned these helmets in WWII did their bit to keep America safe from the Japanese...

and return to those Auto plants to once again produce gas-guzzling cars . Until we got rescued, that is, by fuel-efficient Japanese technology.

accession number:
United States Civil Defense OCD helmet, WWII
Acquired 2002, a gift

Condition: good


John said...

I remember having one of these in our family as a kid in Boston. It had the Air Raid Warden insignia as I recall. I used to keep my neighborhood safe from the Germans and Japanese backin the early 1960s...along with my Monkey Patrol combination gun.

Mannie Gentile said...

And a job well done John!