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Last updated on 11/23/14

Site established on 3/22/01



Helmet Art


"Very Unusual example of a very early USAF HGU-22P having been converted to a configuration similar to an APH-5 and used by a rotary wing Army aviator. First received as a gutted shell - this helmet was completely restored for "Legacy of Valor" by Don Mong of Gunfightergrafx


"Have a Nice Day!"...The little brother of a stateside girlfriend sent me this, and having seen every imaginable (& a few unimaginable) permutations of 'Bad-Ass' helmet designs, I decided this was perversly sinister enough for my oblique sense of humor. Besides, I felt better about the laughter of others when they looked at me. This was a keeper and I still have it. (Wish I could find a decent old-style CVC helmet to display it on though!)
Image courtesy of Doug Kibbey, TC of HQ-71, "G" Trp

In the center is sp Lebouef. I can't remember the name of the man on the left. They had presented me with a freshly painted helmet. It was the most perfect titty pink color, they had mixed and experimented for about a week to get that color. They where proud and so was I
Image courtesy of CWO2 Lowell L. Eneix 121st AHC SOCTRANG TIGERS 67-68 WRECKER2 67-11 A-3 1st woc

114th AHC Unit markings on APH-5 Helmet

Click here to read an article on Helmet Art

Image courtesy of Joseph A. White via John Jones


The back of Rick Schwab's SPH-4 helmet neatly adorned with hand painted Condor of C troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment
Image courtesy of Rick Schwab

Having survived the sixties on a university campus, before I left for Vietnam, I put the sixties campaign patch on my helmet bag. It was the standard OD version. While on the 707 flying across the pond, an Army Military Intelligence Captain sitting next to me asked me what unit the patch represented. I said it was a marijuana leaf. He sunk down in his seat and looked around. He was noticeably nervous the remainder of the long flight. The helmet has a viper skin on it, with a pattern similar to a pigmy rattle snake, from a snake I got it somewhere in the woods over there (Vietnam). I have had a few snakes for pets and suppers. The painted beads are similar to the color pattern of the beads I wore throughout my Army adventure. I am still wearing the same string today. They have protected my neck so far. The beads are from those I used for my Indian dance regalia. The WSU is for Washington State University. The USPA (US Parachute Association) decal was to let any fel low skydivers know that I had my parachute over there. I made a few jumps while there, including one into the South China Sea. We were picked up by some Navy chaps who were fellow jumpers. The environmental decal painting was because I liked the design.
Image courtesy of Doug Buchanan

Allen Lee Jensen 114th AHC - Alan was handed a pretty roughed up APH5 helmet, when he joined the unit in April 1966. He soon managed to 'acquire' a brand new white APH5, outside of normal supply channels. Allen then had an artist in Vinh Long town, appl y a black base and some beautiful 'Art'. At the end of his tour, he just handed back his 'original issue' and brought home this great momento of his wartime military service.
Image courtesy of Allen Lee Jensen 114th AHC. via John Jones

Judd Clemens in flight wearing an SPH-4 helmet neatly adorned with the 1st Cavalry division sleeve patch design on the left side. The right side sported a Special Forces patch design to reflect Judd's service with the S.F. on his first tour
Image courtesy of Judd Clemens

Stars and stripes adorn the visor housing of this SPH-4 helmet worn by a member of the 240th AHC


18th CAC Crew Chief Jim Lorenzo's helmet painted with heritage theme. Left side reads the '2nd Flt Plt' with  'gunship crew chief' on the right 
Image courtesy of Jim Lorenzo  via John Jones

Bill Blackburn of C. Co., 227th CAB sporting Patriotic thieme on the visor housing of his APH-5 flying helmet
Image courtesy of Bill Blackbrun via Joe Stone

OH-6A #17340 "Miss Clawd IV", Hugh Mills in cockpit, Can Tho 1972. Note distinctive "WAR" artwork on the visor of the SPH-4 helmet Hugh is wearing.
Image courtesy of Hugh Mills

The Fierce looking Jayhawk on the back of this AFH-1 Ballistic helmet reflects the owner's Kansas roots as well as a play on the John Wayne character by the same name! - Original artist SP-4 John A. Hulbert, aka Harpo. 18th CAC, 1st Aviation Brigade, Can Tho, 1972-73
Image courtesy of George McClintock, 1st Aviation Bde.

Front and back of Ron Woodgeard's helmet
Image courtesy of Ron Woodgeard, A troop 7/1 Scout CE observer

121 AHC Viking Gun platoon crew had local artist paint the Viking and name on the helmet. Viking crew also wore black T shirts and usually had tailored pants to look sharp. There was a very high level of pride being selected to be a Viking.
Image courtesy of George Quackenbush

This was my helmet when I was a Warlord from May 71 till March of 72. They took it away from me when I left country.
Image courtesy of Don Holly, B. Co. 123rd Avn Bn (Warlords) in 71-72

My SPH4 helmet in Nam, It seemed every time I left a unit I had to paint over this unauthorized modification. I did at flight school, I did when I returned to FT Wolters and as an IP When the 101st Returnet to Fort Campblee, in Germany with the 223rd Avn Bn, but I kept trying.
Image courtesy of Ray Knight

SPH-4B flight helmet repainted in dark green and adorned with hand painted nickname "Moon" on visor housing
Image courtesy of Jim "Moon" Sheetz

The ultimate in personalized headgear. Lift Platoon Crew Chief John Hyatt sports a bright orange SPH-4 personalized with lift platoon and troop patch designs as well as other personalization.
Image courtesy of John Hyatt

Personalized SPH-4 Flight helmet worn by Mike O'Neil during his tour as a Cobra pilot with F troop 9th Cavalry Regiment. "Numba One" was classicly the best in Vietnamese culture. Mike took a real delight in being "Numba 10" which was something BAD!!!!".
Image courtesy of Mike O'Neil

The helmet that I wore as a Toro (B/4/77 ARA) at Ft. Bragg in 1968 and at Camp Eagle in 1969-70. All the original Toro pilots had the Toro hand painted on their helmets by WO Lester A. Hansen, who ended up an MIA. Many of us still have those helmets proudly displayed. My helmet was the only one modified with an AF visor and painted with the horns as you see them. The picture in the upper right corner you may recognize as it once was on the back cover of a VHPA directory. I took the picture of my three Toro wingmen in echelon as we returned from a CCN mission. Mike Sloniker submitted the picture for the directory but I took the shot.
Image courtesy of Mike Brokovich

Although this is not the flight helmet I wore in Vietnam, which was painted black, it served as a log of things I've done and places I had gone. I wore this helmet during my time as a Scout and Huey crew chief with 1/17, 82nd Airborne Div. at Ft. Bragg in 1970 and 1971. I hand-painted all the markings, including the checked visor. I doubt that in Vietnam I would've had the time or the patience to do that.
Image courtesy of Wayne Mutza - 240th AHC

This is the helmet I wore when I served with the 336th AHC. I was Warrior 26, but the aircraft number was 25. The picture was also on the avionic's cover. It was a picture of my crew chief's (Dean Cram) wife, enhanced by the artist.
Image courtesy of John Leandro, Warrior 26

I was the only Italian in my Red Hat Flight. When we were airborne the guys had a good time teasing me that I was the Baron Von Wop instead of the Baron Von Ricthofen. (Red Baron) In Nam I used Vonwop as my call sign and have ever since.
Image courtesy of Tony Catalano, Vonwop/CWO, Pilot 92nd AHC, Vietnam, 68-69

Very Unique, Dual visor SPH-4 Flight helmet as issued to USAF personel. This example was "commandeered" by Judd Clemens, custom painted (note Stonewall Jackson quote on rear) and worn on his tour as Lift Platoon Commander with B troop -7/1 Cav.
Image courtesy of Judd Clemens


Image courtesy of Steve "Tooth" Bookout Phoenix 62 & Razorback 33


Image courtesy of Steve "Tooth" Bookout Phoenix 62 & Razorback 33

A Battered example of an SPH-4 helmet with a well worn, 191st A.H.C. "Bountry Hunters" decal. A unit decal is very unusual as most examples were hand painted on the helmets and aircraft.
Image courtesy of Paul Howell

Artwork on the back of my helmet. (Note M-21 armament system)
Image courtesy of Dave Hooper, Buccaneers Gunship Platoon.

I began my career in the Army as an Enlisted man and airplane mechanic and crewchief. (I started flying airplanes in 1963 when I was in high school.) From January 1966 through early 1968, I was assigned to a joint service project at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. I made lots of AF friends there and became a “Scrounger Extraordinaire” around the flight line. After graduating Flight School at Savannah in early 1970, I took thirty days of leave enroute to Vietnam and was driving home to Idaho. I stopped by the Eglin area to attend the wedding of an Air Force buddy. I had some time on my hands and since I had decided I wanted an Air Force Dual Visor flight helmet, I visited some old haunts on the base. I found that the NCO in charge of the Personal Equipment shop was an old acquaintance. He was very willing to trade a brand new, white dual visor helmet for my well worn Army APH-5. He was eager to trade because he said the local C-123 pilots were hot to get their hands on the Army’s “ballistic” helmets. My helmet was not a ballistic model but who was I to dispute the good Sgt’s observations. We had just about sealed the deal when I told the NCO there was just no way I was going to wear a white helmet while flying low level Aeroscout missions in Vietnam. He told me, for a bottle of Jack Daniels, he’d have his shop Zoomies paint it Olive Drab for me. We made the trade and when I picked up the helmet a couple of days later I saw that the “painter” had gone “above and beyond”. The helmet had a terrific tan and green camouflage pattern sprayed on. The proud Airman couldn’t wait to turn the helmet around to show me his handiwork on the backside. He had blended in a tan “Bird” or “The Finger” on the back. I was elated, to say the least! I could simply turn my head to let those next me know that they were #1 with me too. J Sometime during my tour I painted the helmet black. I also painted the visor several times with different themes. “War Wagon 14” has always been displayed on the back of each of my helmets throughout my flying career. Even the one I wear today. I’m glad to see the helmet returned to the camouflage pattern it originally had.
Image courtesy of Don Callison, Warwagon 14 with credit to Don Mong of www.gunfightergrafx.com who volunteered time and materials for the restoration

My helmet from Can-Tho S.V.N. I was with The 18th C.A.C., Crew Chief/Door Gunner on a UH-1. - M.A. Lanning - Original artist SP-4 John A. Hulbert, aka Harpo. 18th CAC, 1st Aviation Brigade, Can Tho, 1972-73
Image courtesy of M.A. Lanning

Wayne Moose, scout gunner, F Troop 4th Cav Air, Tan My 1972-3 - I wrote home to my parents for paints and brushes so I could paint my helmet
Image courtesy of Wayne Moose


Me with my helmet – didn’t even know that sneaky photographer took the photo until later!
Image courtesy of Jim Kluender – Solo


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