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WW1 American Helmet w/ Rare Motor Transport Corps "Wheel" Insignia

This is an interesting American Expeditionary Force (AEF) helmet from the First World War.  Usually, when we find a helmet with an insignia from WW1, it's a Division symbol like the Pine Tree for the 91st, organized in the northwestern US...or a Statue of Liberty from the NY-based 77th Infantry.  However, what makes this helmet a bit more unique is that it's a specialty or trade branch of the US Army called the Motor Transport Corps.  The symbol depicts a winged helmet inside a spoked wheel or wagon wheel.  Our guess is that the wings on the helmet were there to differentiate the faster motorized transportation from traditional military forms of transport...the horse-drawn wagon.

The use of the truck was almost a brand new idea for the US Army.  Trucks were first used in 1916 during Pershing's expedition to Mexico in hopes of capturing Pancho Villa.  The following year in France, the AEF, once again led by Pershing, would have to find a way to transport massive quantities of supplies and troops from depots along the coast up to the front lines.  The Motor Transport Corps was the answer and must have seemed not far off from a pilot and ground crew flying and maintaining an airplane.  Here is a quote we found from the Hayes Truck Museum regarding the various types of vehicles incorporated by the Army:  "When the Americans) landed in France in 1917, they scrambled for every truck available at the time. An inventory later revealed 294 different makes; of these 213 were produced in the US with 60,000 non-interchangable parts. The military realized they needed to standardize their trucks, and the Liberty Truck, or "USA Truck" was born."

The Liberty truck was conceived by the Quartermaster Dept. after reviewing a study done by the SAE that recommended the standardization of a design that could be produced by multiple manufacturers.  I believe there were 15 different makers for the Liberty Model "B" which entered service in 1918...with 7,500 sent to Europe.

Overall, the helmet is in Very Good condition with a very strong insignia and nearly all the original green paint intact with some slight staining on the right side.  There is some slight crazing due to age in the yellow paint which serves as a backdrop between the wheel spokes...but looks nice and no flaking present.  The original liner is intact and in good shape.  Chin strap is missing.  This would make a great addition to any WW1 military collection.

Item# 1054




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