"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
"BLACK MAC'S KILLERS"        
                         VMF(N)-533                                                
Background photo:  "Scrapper One Six", F6F-5N, BuNo 78099, of VMF(N)-533, on patrol off  Ie Shima, circa June 1945. We believe the pilot may be 1st Lt. Albert F. Dellamano.

Above:  This photo of the Skipper is reported to have been taken in May, 1945 during the start of operations from Okinawa. It is very difficult to tell here, but there appears to be tied laces from something under his life vest, visible below the pen in his shirt pocket.

Below:  Fortunately, from this side view, we get a better look. Revealed is a rigger made survival vest. Details are hard to make out, even in this large format, however, it appears to be constructed of the gray airplane fabric typically used by parachute riggers when working their magic. Under his gloved-fingers, we can also see what appears to be .38 cal. pistol ammo held in elastic loops. Now, if only we could see what he was carrying in the vest!
Below:  Alright, we won't keep you in suspense any longer. After making some inquiries, and with our gratitude for the generosity of the author, his brother and the extended Magruder family, we are not only able to tell you, but also now SHOW you what was in the Colonel's vest! Thanks to his family's sense of history, they have managed to preserve this unique artifact in its original condition for the past 70 years and have allowed us to share it with you. All of the contents shown here are the original items that were placed in the vest and carried on the Colonel's person during his combat missions. The only missing item is the lensatic compass (standard issue to Marine Corps officers) and its fate is unknown.
 
Above:  The well planned and executed layout and construction of the vest is readily apparent. Its design integrated well with the life vest and parachute harness, while allowing ready access to the pockets, even when seated in the cockpit. The components are, for the most part, taken directly from the M-592 survival backpad kit. The pockets have been arranged to spread out the load, while at the same time, counterbalance the weight of the .38 cal. Victory revolver carried in the permanently attached leather shoulder holster. As a side note, the author tells us his father only carried a revolver when flying. Back on the ground, he preferred to carry his Marine issue .45 cal. automatic pistol. 

Below:  Those of you familiar with the M-592 kit will recognize the sunburn ointment tin, AN-5731-1 match case / compass, 25' of  75 lb. test line and the pocketknife carried in the upper row of pockets on the right side of the vest.
Above:  In the large lower right side pocket we find three tins of emergency rations. These are the earlier of two packaging variations and include the calorie count.

Below:  In the smaller pocket next to the rations, a Mark 1 Mod 0 Distress Smoke Hand Signal (dated Dec. 1944) is carried along with a package marked "Morphine". Based on its size, it appears to have been removed from the M-592's standard six unit first aid kit, specifically the morphine and iodine component, wherein six syrettes were contained in a box this size. For waterproofing, it has been covered in tape and the contents spelled out in pencil. Elastic pistol ammunition loops along the bottom of both sides of the vest would appear to accommodate 42 rounds of .38 cal. tracer, also to be used for distress signaling.
Above:  The Emergency Signal Mirror (ESM/1) carried in the left, upper pocket.

Below:  The magnifying glass, carried in the small pocket below the mirror, was intended to be used as a burning glass, providing another means to start a fire. This is one of two types found in the M-592 kit. Contractor furnished, both types were commercial items that were typical of  "5 & 10 Cent Store" merchandise of the period. The pocket to the right would have carried the lensatic compass.
Below, left:  Details of the holster. A standard Navy issue Boyt product, it has had the shoulder strap removed before being sewn to the vest along its top and down one side.

Below, right top:  The type of compass that would have been carried in the vest, a W. & L. E. Gurley lensatic model.

Below, right bottom:  The pocketknife, unfolded. The blade is marked "Made in U.S.A.".