"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Below:  Now, turning our attention to the center of the room, we have a fully inflated PK-1 pararaft with it's complete complement of survival equipment and a radar reflector rigged to it's stern. One can only image what a difficult task it must have been to assemble this delicate contraption successfully while it, and you, were sopping wet and your raft was being tossed around by wind and waves in the middle of an ocean.
A host of superlatives come to mind after seeing this display, but I think we will keep it simple, and in closing, offer Dustin our sincere thanks for the real privilege of seeing the results of his hard work, obviously a true "labor of love", and commend him on "a job well done"!

We leave you now with a few more photos of Dustin's Navy wall to serve as further inspiration for your collecting efforts.
Above:  At the top of the wall, we see the Navy specific, pre-war developed MK-I life vest and the WWII developed, but post-war used MK-II vest. Mosquito head nets follow, with a shelf-full of every know variation of M-592 backpad kit.

Below:  A lay-out of the pilot's personal equipment, escape aids, signal mirrors, survival edged weapons, Navy pararafts and first aid kits.   
           
Below:  Turning the corner we have rations, distillation kits, signal equipment, a multi-place raft, pyrotechnic / smoke signals, escape and  evasion kits and distress signal  lights. 

Next we are into A.A.F. territory with an assortment of their backpad and seat pack kits as well as the C-1 vest.

The final wall continues with A.A.F. items to include a C-2 raft with case, a sail / tarpolin, several A.A.F. contract pararaft kits, the "Gibson Girl" radio and a survival equipment storage chest for large aircraft. 
It is our pleasure to provide you a glimpse into the collection of Dustin Clingenpeel. Our regular readers may recognize his name from his earlier contributions to our site. Specifically, his articles "Life Jacket Shark Chaser" and the series, "The Cutting Edge". As you may have guessed, Dustin's passion is WWII survival gear. He collects both A.A.F. and U.S.N. equipment and we will show you some of each service's items here.
Before we take a look around his private museum, a few words from the man himself :

"I have been collecting U.S. WWII militaria for over 25 years but, for the last 12 years, my focus has been emergency rescue equipment of the USAAF and Bureau of Aeronautics. My war room, or “survival exhibit” as I like to call it, is influenced by equipment displays of the era. Almost every naval air station or army air field had a demonstration or class room to orientate pilots and aircrew on emergency equipment. These classrooms could be found in Stateside training facilities and overseas. Large schools with actual training courses were also established in Hawaii, New Guinea and England to name but a few. My room is very similar to how the equipment was displayed there. My collection is focused mainly on individual equipment but there are some multiplace kits on display with an attempt to theme areas and there is a blend of both services due to space limitations.
My first piece of equipment was an empty M-592 back pad kit starting my quest to first complete the kit and then grew into what you see here. Overall, it is a very fascinating field to collect with many manufacturer's variations and official changes. Much of this equipment is what you don’t see in photographs, aside from a few select items. Unfortunately, very few pieces can be attributed to a specific unit or individual, but bits and pieces do show up occasionally in groupings. Where the historical factor lies in this collecting field is from the personal accounts of survival. Over the years, I have accumulated several hundred debriefings from intelligence and air sea rescue reports. Some of these firsthand accounts could not be imagined in any work of fiction! In these reports, the individuals speak of their jungle kits, life rafts, items they carried in their pockets and how they were implemented. They speak of evading the enemy, meeting natives, life adrift at sea and trudging through steaming jungles. By studying these reports, all this equipment comes to life. Many thousands of airmen owed their lives to this equipment and the established air sea rescue activities during the war. There is no exact calculated number of rescues, but it has been reported that at least 4,000 airmen were rescued in the PTO alone.
The other aspect to this collecting field is that this equipment was new technology at the time, developed through the demands of global war. It stands as a testament to the ingenuity of the individuals and their respective services to assure the safety of United States airmen. Much of the safety and emergency equipment used today can trace their lineage back to WWII."
Regards
Dustin


Above:  Stepping into the room and turning our attention to the right, we will then proceed around the walls counter-clockwise.

First off we have blood-chits, escape kits, survival guides and fishing kits.

Below:  Next, we find survival knives and machetes, essential for making one's way out of the jungle, followed by A.A.F. contract life vests, to include examples of the B-3, B-4, AN-6519, modified B-4 and late war B-5. Many of these items were available to both services.

Now things get really interesting and we have to stop to catch our breath.
Here are the Navy specific items..... in abundance.

 
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