Thursday, January 21, 2010

U.S. Navy M1 Shore Patrol Helmet Liner

"Let's see some I.D. sailor!"

The Shore Patrol is, more or less, the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Navy, at least it was back when I was a sailor.  "SPs", as they are called, are responsible for maintaining good order among sailors on liberty and in port.

SPs came in two varieties:

Variety one - The "good guys, that is, regular sailors from your own ship who were detailed with this duty while your ship was in port.  They generally strive to keep their shipmates out of trouble.

These SPs are shipmates of the sailors that they're posing with.  A pretty jolly bunch, wouldn't you agree?

Variety two - the "hard asses", these are the sailors who are assigned to Shore Patrol duty long term.  These are the specialists, the enforcers, they have no shipmates and don't care who ends up in the brig for what infraction however minor.  They generally strive to bust the chops of sailors on liberty.

These guys are full-time SPs on the lookout for some poor sailor who needs to get a tune-up for daring to have the cuffs of his jumper folded up.

Get the difference?

Here then, is the crowning glory of that second type of SP, the hard nosed petty officer with helmet and nightstick who is cruising for tipsy swabbies to fill up his paddy-wagon.  This is a standard Firestone M1 liner in white with "SP" emblazoned on the front in very dark blue.

Lookout mate, he's comin' our way!

Interior view shows a quite complete suspension save for the damaged  nape strap.

This liner has a stable one and one half inch crack in the front; the work of a sailor wielding a beer bottle perhaps?

The Firestone logo in the dome of the liner.

Liner with the Shore Patrol brassard in yellow and navy blue wool.  This one is from the 1960's from a ship's company SP , my brother Joe, aboard the U.S.S. Belmont (AGTR-4), one of the good guys.

Indulge me for a moment please, as I'm also an artist, of sorts, and here is a six-inch figurine I made of a Shore Patrolman from the 1950s.

Standing pierside waiting for the liberty hounds to come thundering down the brow.

The haircut and posture are very much that of a career man, but 'lo! what do I spy behind the bollard?

Could be anyone's, though it is odd that its still so frosty cold.  Hmmmm, must be a ship's company SP after all.

Until next time, anchors aweigh!

(the one in San Diego with his cuffs up)

accession number: MOA hrey  97
U.S Navy M1 helmet liner in Shore Patrol livery
Acquired 1998, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Purchase price :$7.00
Condition: very good

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