Art of the Helmet

WakeIsland1

The American pressed fiber sun helmet that was introduced just prior to World War II, and remained in service well into the 1990s by some USN units has the distinction of being the longest continually used helmet in the American military history. The helmets aren’t typically hard to find either, and often lack little in character.

However as these examples can attest some owners knew how to give their helmets some personal style.

WakeIsland2

While it was against regulations to decorate a helmet, many soldiers, sailors and Marines still did so as is attested by this above example. Whether this helmet was actually used on Wake Island is questionable, and if so it was likely painted this way prior to the December 1941 siege of the island, or after the island was liberated at the end of World War II. Regardless it serves as a true reminder of the “Alamo of the Pacific” that occurred 69 years ago.

This would no doubt be considered “politically incorrect” today, but this example certainly has some character!

This would no doubt be considered “politically incorrect” today, but this example certainly has some character!

Another helmet that suggests real artistic effort. Likely painted after the end of hostilities it evokes the South Pacific in numerous ways.

Another helmet that suggests real artistic effort. Likely painted after the end of hostilities it evokes the South Pacific in numerous ways.

The front insignia of the above helmet.

The front insignia of the above helmet.

A USMC helmet that lists many of the places the Marine may have been. While not as artistic it still has a certain flare to it.

A USMC helmet that lists many of the places the Marine may have been. While not as artistic it still has a certain flare to it.

The top view of the above helmet.

The top view of the above helmet.

More likely painted post-war this does evoke the “Devil Dog” spirit of the USMC.

More likely painted post-war this does evoke the “Devil Dog” spirit of the USMC.

More likely painted post-war this does evoke the “Devil Dog” spirit of the USMC.

More likely painted post-war this does evoke the “Devil Dog” spirit of the USMC.

Peter Suciu

One thought on “Art of the Helmet

  1. Mark Hubbs

    The “Wake Island” sun helmet is by no means “questionable.” I have personally handled it. However it is not a military helmet. It was issued by the Morrison-Knudsen construction company to its employees who were on Wake when the Japanese attacked on Dec 8th, 1941. Its owner brought the helmet home after spending the remainder of the War in Japanese prison camps. It is signed by over 50 men who were also captured at Wake. Over half of the men who autographed this helmet did not survive the War. The photos were taken from an article that I authored and can be seen on the link below.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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