Original U.S. WWII USAAF Named Officer Crush Cap

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Leonard J. Hizney from Cleveland, Ohio army serial number 35300450 enlisted as a private and rose to the rank of Lieutenant in the Army Air Force. This visor cap, in summer Khaki issue color, was made by KNOX Fifth Avenue, New York City which is nicely marked in the crown. It is in worn but nice condition with the iconic crush shape. Underneath the sweat band are two labels that read Lt. Hizney.

This is the classic "bomber pilot" headgear, worn by USAAF pilots in Europe and the Pacific. Actually, this was the standard Army/AAF officer's dress cap, worn by pilots and non-pilots alike, but pilots gave this cap their own unique twist. Normally, this cap had stiffeners -- a support piece behind the cap device and a wire around the inside top perimeter to maintain the cap's round shape. These kept the cap in its proper, regulation military shape and angle. However, since bomber pilots wore headsets over their caps during flights, they would remove the wire stiffener to make headset wear more comfortable, causing the sides of the caps to become crushed. Eventually, the caps retained their floppy "crushed" look, giving the pilot who wore it the look of a seasoned veteran.

The crush cap identified its wearer as an experienced pro, and was as much a part of his identity as his leather flight jacket. The crush cap look quickly became popular with ground army officers and general officers.

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