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Navy Man: 1942

Navy Man: 1942

August 1942. Corpus Christi, Texas. "After seven years in the Navy, J.D. Estes is considered an old sea salt by his mates at the Naval Air Base." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Howard Hollem, Office of War Information.


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Is that shirt regulation?

Those are unusual pockets for a USN chambray shirt, no?

BMG ID Correction

I believe that the weapon is an M2, yes. However, that is a .50 caliber weapon. The M1919 was chambered in 30-06 and has a pistol grip. The butterfly trigger on this one is a good visual give-away that we are looking at the M1919's big brother.


Browning is the standard AN (Army-Navy) M2 .30-06 aircooled aricraft gun. It is an MG specifically made for aircraft use with considerable lightening of internals and reduction in size of receiver components and internals. It also had a very high rate of fire, 900-1000 RPM and used disintegrating metal link cartridge belts. It was made by four different manufacturers in large numbers and used as defensive firepower on many different types of aircraft. It did not serve well as an offensive weapon due to the light caliber. Many of these BMGs in privat ehands.

Bob Naess
Black River Militaria CII


My father served as Radio/Radar/Waist Hatch Gunner on a Martin PBM patrol plane from '42-'46. I can remember him talking about having a safety belt that attached to either side of the hatch. I think if you look close enough, you can see D-rings on the side that would have been used for this purpose.

[Both J.D. and Jesse Rhodes Waller, ordnance mates at Corpus Christi who spent their day lifting heavy equipment into planes, wore these support belts. - Dave]


That's most likely a Browning M1919 caliber .30-06 machinegun. Can't quite make out the data plate on the mount.

Back Belt

My long-ago boyfriend was a Navy reserve signalman, and he had a belt similar to the one in the picture. This would have been the late 80s/early 90s. Same looking leather, buckle, everything, and it was used aboard ship to support carrying heavy loads. I'd check around some Army-Navy surplus stores or similar online--bet they're available someplace like that.

Consolidated PBY

I'm going to go out on a limb here and surmise that J.D. is holding a .30 MG that goes in the the big blue Consolidated PBY patrol plane behind him.

Where can I get a back belt like that?

Now THAT'S a supportive back belt he's wearing. A belt like that could turn any of us into Superman.

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