Airmen float in ice water testing anti-exposure suits, United States, 1945


Photograph. Two airmen, wearing anti-exposure suits, floating in freezing water outdoors while another man monitors equipment nearby; snow covers the landscape. Official Caption: "Rome. 6/9/45--Anti-exposure suit for airmen--'Ditching' a plane in the sea is a particularly unpleasant prospect for an air crew when it becomes necessarily in Arctic waters where a man's survival is a matter of minutes. Now technicians of the personal equipment laboratory of the U.S. Air Technical Service command at Wright Field, Ohio, have developed a new quick-donning anti-exposure suit. They gave it a severe test recently at 15 degrees F. (minus 9 degrees C.), chopping through a foot (30 centimeters) of ice and then proceeding to 'dunk' two men garbed in the new suit in the freezing water. Encased in the protective cloth of the suit, which covers everything but the face, the two men lay in the water for an hour. Thermocouples attached to the suit recorded their temperature during the test, throughout which no part of their bodies registered lower than a trace below normal. The anti-exposure suit is made of nylon coated with a substance rendering it both water and air tight. It traps enough air to float the wearer and is not so bulky as to prevent him from climbing into his life raft. After an hour in the water, the two men climbed into a raft and remained there for an additional two hours while the test continued. One of them wore the lightest flying colors that would be used during winter flying conditions. After the test, he reported he was 'chilly but actually did not suffer from cold.'--FA Photo--Serviced by Rome OWI (A List Out). Approved by appropriate military. 6533-5." Wright Field, Ohio, United States. 9 June 1945

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Items from the service of Isaac "Ike" Bethel Utley, who was born in Smith Mills, Kentucky on 3 March 1920. Ike enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 19 January 1942. He was shipped overseas to the European Theatre and worked with a supply division based out of the city of Naples with an office set up in a residential villa. Utley worked with the Office of War Information and used their photographs in news articles to inform soldiers of the progress of the war. At war's end, Utley returned stateside. A trunk full of over 800 photographs from the O.W.I. arrived on his doorstep from his office in Italy, sender unknown. This collection consists of those photographs.
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Equipment & supplies--Ohio