"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
AN-6530 Goggles
When the camera gets in close, we can see details that would otherwise go unnoticed. Here we have ARM 2/C H.C. Cook at Cecil Field, Florida, undergoing training at the aerial gunnery school in March of 1944.  Of note are his private-purchase pigskin gloves. We can also see the .30 caliber ammunition around his neck is a belt of "dummy" rounds, evident by the holes in the casings. Of interest to us, however, is the pair of "Franken-goggles" he is wearing. The wearer's left hand frame is American Optical while his right frame is Charles Fischer Spring! We doubt this was done very often, but it does prove the manufacturer's components were interchangeable. See further down the page for a similar surviving pair. Auction photos courtesy of  "American flats".

Below:  Another anomoly. This time, probably a case of supply not meeting demand. The old military adage of  "For want of a nail........."* comes to mind. Here we see USMC ace 1st LT Albert Wells of VMF-323 with an example of a "field expedient" repair for the lost or broken screw from his goggle frame hinge. It  would appear to have been replaced with a common paper clip. 


Above:  1st Lt. William Hood of VMF-323, on Okinawa, mounts his Corsair. He has chosen to cut away part of the cushion so it will clear the oxygen mask attaching straps when his goggles are down.

Below:  Here is an example of a seasoned flyer who chose to continue using his equipment to the point where some would consider it to be unserviceable. We see Captain A. H. "Bill" Patterson, USMCR, a TBM pilot with VMTB-143, aboard the CVE U.S.S. Gilbert Islands in the summer of 1945.  He was a veteran of Guadalcanal and the squadron's first tour. His left goggle lens is cracked through, the goggle strap is frayed (with threads hanging off), a wire applied to his sponge rubber ear cups (to help secure the TH-37 earphones) has torn loose and the  left shoulder of his flight suit has worn through. Whether Bill considered this to be his "lucky" flight gear, he was proud of his veteran status, or he was simply one of many children of the Depression Era who were taught to "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" we will never know.
This photo is a cropped version of an original which is courtesy of Adam Lewis. We are working on a feature article about Bill, who passed in 2012, and hope to present it to you in the near future.
           
Above:  Again, in close-up, we can easily see the use of the early "blackened" steel wire goggle strap clasp on 1st LT Henry A. McCartney's C.F.S. goggles. With pitted frames and a less-than-pristine cushion, his goggles match perfectly with his well worn M-450 flight helmet to give him that "salty" veteran look that was the envy of many a younger, or less experienced, aviator. McCartney had an interesting career, starting his combat flying as a dive bomber pilot with VMSB-142 in early 1943. He moved on to VMO-251 / VMF-121, where he scored four victories flying the F4F Wildcat, then made his fifth and final kill in a Corsair with VMF-214, the Blacksheep, during their first tour. 

Below:  The lower contour of the AN-6530 cushion did not always integrate well with the shape of the A-14 oxygen mask. To insure a comfortable fit, the officially approved solution was to mark the cushion accordingly and remove the offending portion with a pair of scissors. Major Donald H. Sapp, an eleven victory ace with VMF-222, gives us an example of the end result, which, in this case, looks a bit rough.

*An old proverb extolling the importance of logistics to the military:

                                            For want of a nail, the shoe was lost,
                                            For want of a shoe, the horse was lost,
                                            For want of a horse, the rider was lost,
                                            For want of a rider, the message was lost,
                                            For want of a message, the battle was lost,
                                            For want of a battle, the war was lost,
                                            For want of a war, the kingdom was lost,
                                            all for want of a nail.
Above and below:  Another similar pair, this one sent in by reader Matt, from Iowa. The C.F.S. "half" of this pair has the later top vent without rivets. Thank you Matt!