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Khaki Summer Flying Coveralls

  • FSN
  • 8415-264-0612 (size: 40 - Short)
  • Specification
  • MIL-C-5390
U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps pilots in Vietnam were issued with khaki flyers' coveralls until the widespread introduction of the Nomex flight suit in 1968. The summer coverall was made from cotton twill, had front zip closure, a rounded collar and boasted the following features:
  • 2 slanted chest pockets with zip fasteners
  • 1 left shoulder pocket with zip fastener
  • 2 thigh pockets with zip fasteners
  • 2 shin pockets with zip fasteners
  • 2 hip pass-through pockets with zip fasteners
  • Wrist and ankle zips
  • Adjustable waist belt with Velcro fasteners
Identical to the orange summer coveralls, the khaki suits were fire retardant but lost their protective properties after 14 washes and thereafter had to be treated with a Borax solution.

This particular flight suit belonged to Lt. Melvin Howell, the pilot of the first U.S. Navy helicopter to be shot down over North Vietnam. Howell was on a rescue mission to recover two downed USAF jet pilots in November 1965 when his Sikorsky SH-3A was struck by machine gun fire. He managed to fly the stricken helo to a nearby mountaintop, from which he and the rest of the crew were rescued later that day.

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