Wilcox Ind

Dressed To Kill

This image from the September 28, 1959 issue of ‘Life’ magazine depicts a developmental US Army clothing system reportedly intended for wear on a nuclear battlefield. While the gloves, mask and coveralls are interesting, what is really cool is the helmet, complete with IR goggles.

The plastic helmet integrates the AN/PRC-34 radio, the developmental Soldier Radio of its day and an attempt to replace the large, walkie-talkie PRC-6 squad radios. The two studs along the crown of the helmet hold the antenna in place when not in use. In this photo, the antenna is deployed. Between the M-1 helmet-style webbing and the shell was a snag of wires.

But the IR goggles are the real treat here, considering this photo is coming up on 60 years old. First off, they are binocular and mount in a similar fashion to what we still do today.  You can also see the battery pack at the rear of the helmet.  A later version of the helmet was developed that offered some ballistic protection as well accommodations for a newer radio variant, the PRC-36.  However, this radio was not integrated directly into the helmet.

10 Responses to “Dressed To Kill”

  1. Brent says:

    Also note the orange and green Crayons.

  2. Chris says:

    I thought this post was going to be about Angie Dickinson.

  3. BillC says:

    First tip about fighting on a nuclear battlefield, don’t fight on a nuclear battlefield.

  4. . says:

    the helmet isn’t so far off the mark. looks like a modern day ACH with a PVS 15 attached!

    • Haji says:

      I admit I was marveling at the direct lineage of that shown here. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  5. tm says:

    So what’s the story behind the LBV?