Sunday, March 22, 2009

U.S. Navy M1 Drill Team helmet

Bluejackets on Parade

The commander of the Recruit Training Command, San Diego taking the salute from a member of the drill team, sometime in the mid 1980s.

Here's a very showy helmet.  A Schleuter, front-seam, swivel bale with Firestone liner all tricked out in chrome and white.

Chrome in such mass has not been seen since the Buicks of the late 1950s!

The leather straps are dyed white.

The shell is marked U.S. Naval Training Center, San Diego (California).  This is what really caught my eye when I first saw this lid as I (and zillions of others) am an alum of that august institution by the sea.  I attended boot camp at the Recruit Training Command of NTC San Diego as well as Radioman school and teletype repair school.

The liner is nearly as spectacular as the shell.  In white, blue, and yellow livery.

The fouled-anchor logo is emblazoned on the front (stenciled).

The purpose of the two grommets is unknown to me.  But the grommets represent only the beginning of the chain of mysteries.

Wear is light though appropriate.

The Korean-war era liner interior is complete and quite clean...

with a crisp Firestone logo in the dome.

Both the headband...

and the neckband are marked and somewhat legible.

The butting and spot-welding of the front rim seam are crisp and neatly done.

The custom chinstrap fastens to the interior of the headband with two-position snaps.

And is further adjusted with sliding buckles.

As with nearly all of my Navy M1s this helmet is stamped with the Schleuter "S".

A close-up of one of the mystery grommets.  I doubt that these were for ventilation, nor do I think they were to support any screw-back or wire-back insignia (as the insignia is stenciled on).  Its a puzzle.

This helmet was part of the regalia of the Recruit Training Command precision drill team, note its leader about to be bayonetted below:


Sadly, NTC San Diego was disestablished several years ago with the end of the Cold War and the absence of the Soviet Union as a credible threat and the widespread acceptance of peace, love, justice, brotherhood, and understanding throughout the world. 
The threat is long-gone, though the chrome lingers on.
(I'm hoping faithful reader of this blog, Vladimir Putin, is getting a chuckle out of this)
accession number:
acquired: 2002 West Michigan Regional Gun Show (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
price: $20.00
condition: excellent


M55q said...

Damn... That helmet.... I would kill to get my hands on one... Or maybe not kill... But defenently do my very best to get one!!

It is a nice looking helmet!!

Anonymous said...

Cox what?!?!? I thought this was a family blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mannie. A wonderful navy story indeed. With interest I note your chromed M1 and I have a question. Last year I came across what I thought was a chromed M1 but I noticed that the shell was a rimless stainless steel version. A normal liner with white canvas straps with a plastic snap-on fixing. I'd love to send you pics of it but would you have any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Do you know where I could purchase a chrome dome? Are they for sale anywhere? Thanks!

Mannie Gentile said...

M55q - an admirable show of self-restraint.

Anonymous 1 - harrumpph.

Anonymous 2 - Spanish M1 clone.

Anonymous 3 - From whence all things spring, Ebay.


Anonymous said...

Last week I acquired an Army version of the chrome dome with a rear seam, it came with an MP liner( 2nd Armored "Hell on Wheels" and "502" on the opposite side). It's missing the chin guard and a bit pitted like the old 50's chrome bumpers that might still exist.

According to my Dad (Marine DI at Paris Island and Honor Guard for Eisenhower at 8th&I in the 50's) the chrome helmet was worn for special ceremony/honor guard purposes. Mine was probably from post WWII into Korean era posting in Germany and would have been worn for dignitaries visits to installations.

Mannie Gentile said...

Anonymous 4,

Nice score! Especially that MP liner.