Original U.S. WWII USAAF Named Officer Winter Crush Visor Cap - FLIGHTER by BANCROFT
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. One of the most iconic pieces of headgear to come out of WWII was the U.S. Crusher Cap, or “Fifty Mission Cap”. This visor cap, in winter OD green issue color, was made by Bancroft, which is well marked in the crown and sweatband. The cap is roughly size 6 ⅞. The outward appearance is worn from honest use, and decades of storage wear. It retains the original iconic "crush" shape. The sweatband is embossed in gold “FLIGHTER by BANCROFT" with patent number and “Curve Control”. In addition, the Bancroft label is visible underneath the now stiffened weatherproof lining in the crown. The cap is named in two places “Phil Smith”. This peaked cap features a gold tone WWII Army Overseas insignia over a leather visor. The cap, while showing moth and wear is still very presentable for display.
This is the classic "bomber pilot" headgear, worn by USAAF pilots in Europe and the Pacific. Actually, this was the standard Army/AAF officer 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 crusher cap identified its wearer as an experienced pilot, and was as much a part of his identity as his leather flight jacket. The crusher cap look quickly became popular with ground army officers and general officers as well.
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