Original U.S. Vietnam War ARVN Rangers M1 Paratroop Helmet with Personalized Camouflage Cover

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The M1 helmet is a combat helmet that was used by the United States military from World War II until 1985, when it was succeeded by the PASGT helmet. For over forty years, the M1 was standard issue for the U.S. military. The M1 helmet has become an icon of the American military, with its design inspiring other militaries around the world. Many were also supplied to U.S. allies during the 50 years following WWII. This example was issued to the South Vietnamese Biệt Động Quân, usually referred to as the ARVN Rangers. The USMC Reversible camouflage cover is marked with many names and phrases in Vietnamese.

Vietnam War era M-1 helmet shells have a set of swivel (movable) chinstrap loops called bales and a stainless steel rim with a rear seam. These rims were both rust resistant and had non-magnetic qualities that reduced the chance of error readings when placed around certain sensitive equipment (such as a compass).

These shells were for the most part identical to late war manufactured helmets, and the only real way to identify them is with the heat lot code. The code on this helmet is M 338 D, indicating that the shell was manufactured by McCord, who produced these helmets continuously for decades.

This helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original Vietnam War parts and the shell has all original corked grain paint. The inner shell paint is also in great shape, with just a bit of water damage.

The liner is correct high pressure 1960s issue liner, made by FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY Manufactured in Akron, Ohio, indicated by the stylized F on the crown. It also is marked with a number 7 next to this. The liner is a correct paratrooper liner, and looks to have been set up like that from the factory. The liner also retains the rear support for the back of the head, though it is worn and detached on one end. Also, unfortunately while the paratrooper chin strap mounting straps are present, the chin cup itself is missing. The shell has the correct standard chin strap stowed to the rear, with additional extensions to snap onto the liner. The sweatband is present, but deteriorated due to wear and age.

The Vietnamese-signed USMC cover is original and in very good condition. It has some stains and small holes around the edge, but is definitely solid, with the expected wear from use. It still retains the correct elastic band supplied to hold it in place. It is marked on the underside of one of the flaps with the contract information:


This is a great piece of Vietnam War memorabilia, originally probably issued for USMC use, but then provided to the ARVN rangers for their use during the conflict. Ready to display!

The Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân and commonly known as the ARVN Rangers, were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in daring search and destroy missions. Initially trained as a counter-insurgency light infantry force by removing the fourth company each of the existing infantry battalions, they later expanded into a swing force capable of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, and were relied on to retake captured regions. Later during Vietnamization the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program was transferred from MACV and integrated as Border Battalions responsible for manning remote outposts in the Central Highlands.

Rangers were often regarded as among the most effective units in the war, the most well-led ARVN unit and formed part of the highly-mobile response units operating in key areas. Part of this was due to the specialized role of these units, given that they had their origins in French-raised Commando Units, the GCMA which were drawn from Viet Minh defectors and Tai-Kadai groups, operating in interdiction and counter-intelligence roles, and were trained specifically for counter-insurgency and rough-terrain warfare in the region. Ranger Units often had a US Military Adviser attached to these units although operated independently. The foremost counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked in 1974 that the ARVN as a whole were the third-best trained army in the free-world and second only to the Israelis in counter-insurgency, with the Rangers, ARVN Airborne and Marine Division forming the vanguard.[8] With improvements in the ARVN from 1969 onward and the growing prestige of the Airborne and Marine Division, depredation had caused the Central Highlands-based Rangers to become manned by deserters, released convicts and Montagnards nevertheless the unit continued to perform critical roles in the Easter Offensive and frontier skirmishes in 1973 and 1974.

A total of 11 U.S Presidential Unit Citation (United States) were issued to the 22 original Ranger Battalions, including one unit whom earned three total citations from two different presidents. See List of Non-US Presidential Unit Citations in Vietnam.

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