Item:
ONSV3067

Original U.S. WWII Colonel Frank Allen Kurtz Jr. Visor Crush Cap by Knox of New York

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Recently acquired from a highly respected private collection, this WWII Officer Visor Cap is named to Colonel Frank Allen Kurtz, Jr. Beyond originating from a respected collection which contained multiple named items with provenance, there is no provenance or paperwork offered with this hat. Based on the origin, quality, markings and other factors we believe this hat to be genuine.

Colonel Frank Allen Kurtz, Jr. (September 9, 1911 – October 31, 1996) was an American Olympic diver and an aviator in the United States Army Air Forces.

Kurtz joined the Army to train as a pilot, anticipating a career in commercial aviation. Before the war, he held the national junior transcontinental speed record and established half a dozen other speed marks for light planes.

He was Commander of the 463d Bombardment Group (Heavy), 15th Air Force, Celone Airfield, Foggia, Italy (1944–45) and a survivor of the air attack at Clark Field in the Philippines, two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In Australia, he salvaged and helped to rebuild a B-17D Flying Fortress bomber using a combination of parts from other wrecked B-17s. At that time, the repaired B-17D was nicknamed "The Swoose" by 19th Bomb Group pilot, Captain Weldon Smith. The tail of a Boeing B-17D, AAF Ser. No. 40-3091 was grafted onto 40-3097, resulting in a hybrid B-17D. The bomber became "half swan and half goose" just like the lyrics in the then-popular novelty song "Alexander, The Swoose." Before the end of the war, "The Swoose" was scheduled to be scrapped and smelted down for its aluminum content. Kurtz then convinced the City of Los Angeles to retrieve his by-then famous bomber for use as a World War II memorial: It was the only B-17 that flew from the beginning of World War II until the end. Today, "The Swoose" is the oldest surviving B-17 and the only early "D" model still in existence. It is being restored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Fairborn, Ohio.

After 24 years in the service of the United States Armed Forces (U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Air Forces, and the U.S. Air Force), Kurtz retired and became a top executive at the William May Garland development firm.

This visor cap, named in embossed gold on the sweatband CAPT. FRANK KURTZ, he was the rank of Captain for the majority of World War Two, is constructed in Olive Green Wool and was manufactured by KNOX of New York. The cap is of the highest quality and in very good condition with an iconic crush shape. Of note is that the chinstrap is the style that goes fully around the head with a buckle in the rear which were very popular with Aviators, a deluxe addition, which was a clear sign of a top quality hat. Condition of the hat is excellent, the stiffener was removed which allows the hat to form the classic "crush" shape which was very popular with fliers during World War Two. Size is approximately 7 1/4 (58cm).
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