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ON6094

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Original U.S. Vietnam War 1969 Dak Seang Camp Pressed Fiber Sun Helmet

Regular price $225.00

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Compare at $295.00

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a Vietnam War Era 1960s pressed fiber helmet produced in dark green.This model of fiber helmets was originally used by the US Navy. A white version of this helmet was used by the Military Police Corps in tropical regions.This example has been painted black and on the interior was painted Dak Seang '69. It retains the original suspended liner sweatband but is missing the chinstrap. Overall condition is good but it has a hole at the crown and a small hole in the back of the brim which appears to have been used for carrying it hanging off a belt or on a lanyard.

 

Dak Seang Camp (also known as Dak Seang Special Forces Camp) is a former U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northwest of Kon Tum in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

The 5th Special Forces Group and CIDG forces first established a base at here in 1964 to monitor communist infiltration along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The base was located 10 km from the Laotian border, 23 km northwest of Đắk Tô and approximately 64 km northwest of Kon Tum

5th Special Forces Detachment A-245 was based here in October 1966.[1]:248

On 18 August 1968 the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 101D Regiment, supported by artillery attacked the camp. The attack was beaten back with small arms and artillery fire.

On 1 April 1970 the PAVN attacked the camp starting a siege that last until 8 May. At the same time the PAVN attacked the Dak Pek Camp. On 15 April 1970 the 170th Assault Helicopter Company dropped the 3rd Battalion, 42nd ARVN Regiment into a landing zone near Dak Seang, resulting in the loss of two helicopters. Sergeant Gary B. Beikirch a 5th Special Forces Group medic would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the siege. SFC Gary L. Littrell would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the siege as an advisor to the ARVN 23rd Battalion, 2nd Ranger Group.

Accidents and incidents
- 2 April 1970, C-7A Caribou #61-2406 was shot down while dropping supplies to Dak Seang killing all 3 crew.

- 4 April 1970, C-7B Caribou #62-4180 was shot down while dropping supplies to Dak Seang killing all 3 crew

- 6 April 1970, C-7B Caribou #63-9746 was shot down while dropping supplies to Dak Seang killing all 3 crew

- 15 April 1970 UH-1H #68-16203 was shot down while landing ARVN troops resulting in 2 U.S. and 2 ARVN killed.

- 15 April 1970 HH-3E #66-13280 of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was shot down while trying to rescue the crew of UH-1H #68-16203 resulting in 1 crewman killed.

 

History of the Fiber Helmet:
The fiber helmet was originally designed by Jesse Hawley in the early 1930s. Hawley subsequently designed the first fiber helmet liner for the original M1 steel helmet, alongside the General Fibre Company, a subsidiary of the International Hat Company. The first patent for the Hawley pressed fiber sun helmet was petitioned to the US government in 1935 and subsequently granted in 1938.

The International Hat Company was the first manufacturer of the World War II model of fiber helmets for the US Army, beginning in June 1940 to 1946. The US Army began ordering the World War II model of fiber helmets from Hawley Products in January 1941 to June 1942. During their respective production times, Hawley Products created 27,751 fiber helmets for the Army, whereas International Hat generated 27,434. The helmet eventually replaced the traditional but more expensive felt campaign hat.

In 1941, the US Marines ordered 44,000 waterproof, khaki fiber helmets to be made of 124 warp and 54 filling of threads per inch, with a maximum weight per square yard of 6 ounces. The helmet was first issued to the First Marine Division during their 1941 deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba International Hat produced 20,000 Marine fiber helmets for $1.35 each, while Hawley Products produced 24,000 Marine fiber helmets at a cost of $1.36 each. In December 1942, the Marine quartermaster ordered an additional 100,000 fiber helmets. This included 50,000 to the Depot Quartermaster of San Francisco, 25,000 to the Clothing Officer of San Diego, and 25,000 to the Depot Quartermaster of Philadelphia.

 

Design
The American pressed fiber sun helmet is known for the simplicity of its design, allowing for easy mass production. An important feature in the original conception of the helmet was to be shaped and contoured from one singular piece. This greatly assisted in making the helmet waterproof. The fiber material kept the helmet light and the soldier unencumbered by headgear. The major drawback in the design was heat. Despite being designed with a series of ventilation holes, the interior of the helmet would eventually become hot in the sun. The chin straps for the World War II model were made by General Fibre Company and Hawley Products Company, the same fiber liner used in the original M1 helmets.The design of the International Hat and Hawley Product versions of the helmet are almost identical. However, the defining difference in identification is that the Hawley Product model has four folds with a wider space between them in the faux puggaree. A puggaree is a type of Indian turban, namely a thin muslin scarf tied around a sun helmet. The International Hat has five thin folds in its faux puggaree.

Military helmet historian Peter Suciu describes the fiber helmet design as taking:
the basic shape of a safari helmet, complete with a faux ventilator at the top and a faux wrapping of puggaree around the dome of the helmet–the latter ironic because previous American sun helmets never used a puggaree. For ventilation, there were a number of vent holes with grommets on each side. The early helmets had three lower vent holes with two vents above, while the post-wartime examples feature four lower ventilation holes.

The original fiber helmets in the 1940s were khaki colored. However, a dark green version of the helmet was produced during the Vietnam War. A white helmet was used by the Military Police Corps in tropical regions. This model of fiber helmets was originally used by the US Navy. These later versions of the helmet had an elasticized chinstrap that was detachable from the helmet. In the case of the original model, the strap was permanently attached to the liner.

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