Original U.S. WWII USAAF Officer OD Green FLIGHT ACE Crush Cap With Rear Chin Strap - Size 7 1/4
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This visor cap, in winter OD Green issue color, is one of the best condition caps we have ever seen. It is in slightly worn but excellent condition with the iconic "crush" shape. It also came to us with the original stiffener still with it, which we have included. These were usually removed and discarded, but the owner of this cap kept it.
The sweatband is embossed with the FLIGHT ACE "winged spade" trademark, as indicated by the TRADEMARK REGISTERED underneath. The celluloid lining makes the crown markings difficult to read, but it appears to be another FLIGHT ACE marking as on the sweatband. This peaked cap features a gold tone WWII Army Overseas insignia over a leather visor. The cap still has the original size tag under the sweat band on the right rear side: 7 1/4.
The cap is in excellent condition, with just a bit of fading around the top and edges. It is an early war cap, which still had the thicker brim, which is in excellent condition, as is the sweatband. There is just a bit of wear on the edge of the front brim. This cap also has a "rear chin strap", which is not often encountered. These are most likely to help keep the cap tight on the head. The celluloid plastic top liner has discolored over time, but it is still quite supple and not very sticky, though it has bonded to some tissue paper used for storage.
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 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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