Original U.S. WWII Medic M1 Schlueter Front Seam Helmet with Westinghouse Liner - “Blueside” Navy Corpsman

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a lovely example of a shipboard Navy Corpsman’s M1 Helmet, painted in white for easy identification. “Blue Side” Navy Corpsman are corpsman who work on a Naval vessel or within a Navy Unit, “Green Side” is when a Corpsman is attached to a Marine Unit or assigned a division.

This is a very nice example of a Late-War M1 Helmet produced by Schlueter, complete with its original liner and a very nice helmet net. In World War II the production of the M1 helmet began in June 1941 and ceased in September 1945. The total production of M-1 helmet shells during the war reached 22,000,000. Of these about 20,000,000 were produced by the main contractor McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit. Although McCord was supposed to be the single source of M-1 helmet shells, by the summer of 1942 a second company was enlisted to help the production effort. This was Schlueter Manufacturing of St. Louis, Missouri.

Schlueter began production of its M-1 helmet shells in January 1943. Schlueter produced only 2,000,000 M-1 helmet shells during the war (both fixed and swivel). They placed an "S" stamp on their helmet shells above or below their "heat temperature stamp".

Aside from the markings, there are some subtle differences between a McCord and Schlueter M-1 helmet shell. This can be found on the rims. A Schlueter helmet shell has a much straighter profile than the classic McCord brim. Also the weld marks for the fixed bales and rim are small and round on a Schlueter, while they are oval and wide for a McCord.

This nice late war production helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts and white paint with 4 “Red Crosses”, with some light wear from service. The steel shell is marked with a large S and heat lot stamped 264A, dating manufacture to early-mid 1944, after the switch to the manganese steel rim with a rear seam. The small round welds on the seam and chin strap bale bases are also definitive for a Schlueter helmet shell.

This M-1 helmet shell was originally designed with a stainless steel rim with seam in the front. Stainless steel 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). In 1944, due to issues with paint flaking off the bright stainless steel, the rim material was switched to non-magnetic manganese steel. This material was not as shiny and retained the paint far better. Slightly later, a "rear seam" design was implemented. This helmet features the correct late war manganese steel rim with rear seam and swivel bales.

The shell chinstrap is present and intact, with wear from age and service. The shell strap is the correct OD Green #7 from a late war helmet, with a stamped steel buckle. It shows light wear, with some tearing near the bales, but nothing major. There are “haze gray” paint stains visible on the chin straps, evidence that the Corpsman helped with the preservation of the ship while underway. Like many helmets, this example has the chin strap fastened behind the helmet, and has for some time. The included OD Green #7 helmet net is in good condition, and is the type with a securing string around the edge, like the British used.

The liner is correct high pressure WWII issue and stamped with a W for the Westinghouse Electric Co Manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed "W" in the crown (which is still Westinghouse's logo to this day). Westinghouse was the largest M-1 helmet liner producer and had two production divisions; Micarta and Bryant Electric. The Micarta Division produced about 13,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and the Bryant Electric Division about 10,000,000. Westinghouse Electric Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery in May 1942. Westinghouse did have a contract to produce airborne liners and converted an unknown amount to airborne configuration. Westinghouse discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.

This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WW2 features include cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension. This HBT suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with a shoestring. This way the wearer could adjust the fit.

WW2 Medic helmets are among the most sought after of all M1 helmets and have become very difficult to find in recent years, especially genuine WW2 issue liners with the correct HBT straps. Almost certainly to appreciate in value year after year! Semper Fi Doc!

Hospital Corpsman
Prior to the establishment of the hospital corps, enlisted medical support in the U.S. Navy was limited in scope. In the Continental Navy and the early U.S. Navy, medical assistants were assigned at random out of the ship's company. Their primary duties were to keep the irons hot and buckets of sand at the ready for the operating area. It was commonplace during battle for the surgeons to conduct amputations and irons were used to close lacerations and wounds. Sand was used to keep the surgeon from slipping on the bloody ship deck. Previously, corpsmen were commonly referred to as loblolly boys, a term borrowed from the Royal Navy, and a reference to the daily ration of porridge fed to the sick. The nickname was in common use for so many years that it was finally officially recognized by the Navy Regulations of 1814. In coming decades, the title of the enlisted medical assistant would change several times—from loblolly boy, to nurse (1861), and finally to bayman (1876). A senior enlisted medical rating, surgeon's steward, was introduced in 1841 and remained through the Civil War. Following the war, the title surgeon's steward was abolished in favor of apothecary, a position requiring completion of a course in pharmacy.

Still, there existed pressure to reform the enlisted component of the Navy's medical department—medicine as a science was advancing rapidly, foreign navies had begun training medically skilled sailors, and the U.S. Army had established an enlisted hospital corps in 1887. Navy Surgeon General J.R. Tryon and subordinate physicians lobbied the Navy administration to take action. With the Spanish–American War looming, Congress passed a bill authorizing establishment of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps, signed into law by President William McKinley on 17 June 1898. Three ratings were created therein—hospital apprentice, hospital apprentice first class (a petty officer third class), and hospital steward, which was a chief petty officer.

A revision in 1916 established a new rate structure. With the introduction of a second junior rate there were now hospital apprentice second class (HA2c) and hospital apprentice first class (HA1c). The rating title for petty officers was established as pharmacist's mate (PhM), following the pattern of some of the Navy's other ratings (boatswain's mate, gunner's mate, etc.). Pharmacist's mate third class (PhM3c), second class (PhM2c), and first class (PhM1c) were now the petty officers, and chief pharmacist's mate (CPhM) was the chief petty officer. This structure remained in place until 1947.

A total of 684 personal awards were awarded to hospital corpsmen, including 23 Medals of Honor, 55 Navy Crosses, and 237 Silver Stars. During World War I, hospital corpsmen served throughout the fleet, earning particular distinction on the Western Front with the Marine Corps.

In the United States Navy in World War II, hospital corpsmen assigned to Marine units made beach assaults with the marines in every battle in the Pacific. Corpsmen also served on thousands of ships and submarines. Three unassisted emergency appendectomies were performed by hospital corpsmen serving undersea and beyond hope of medical evacuation. The hospital corps has the distinction of being the only corps in the U.S. Navy to be commended, in a famous speech by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal after the conclusion of the war.

Following the war, the hospital corps changed its rating title to the generic term it had used all along—hospital corpsman. The rates of hospital corpsman third class (HM3), second class (HM2), and first class (HM1), and chief hospital corpsman (HMC) were supplemented by senior chief hospital corpsman (HMCS) and master chief hospital corpsman (HMCM) in 1958.

Hospital corpsmen continued to serve at sea and ashore, and accompanied marines and Marine units into battle during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Fifteen hospital corpsmen were counted among the dead following the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Hospital corpsmen also served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars providing corpsmen for convoys, patrols, and hospital or clinic treatment.

Whether they are assigned to hospital ships, reservist installations, recruiter offices, or Marine Corps combat units, the rating of hospital corpsman is the most decorated in the United States Navy and the most decorated job in the U.S. military, with 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses since World War I, 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 959 Silver Stars, and more than 1,600 Bronze Star Medal's with combat V's for heroism since World War II (as of 2016). Twenty naval ships have been named after hospital corpsmen. Prior to selection to the command master chief program, the 11th MCPON, Joe R. Campa, was a hospital corpsman.

On 29 September 2016, the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus terminated the corpsman rating along with all other U.S. Navy enlisted ratings. However, in late December 2016, the usage of ratings were restored by the Navy after much backlash by many in the enlisted naval ranks.

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