I was watching a documentary on TV showing US Marines carrying out an amphibious landing. All Marines in the landing craft had helmets on as you would expect from a soldier but the guys piloting the craft both had white hard hats, as found on construction sites, on their heads. Do they usually do this? Is there a special reason for it?
I don’t know about the hats, but the operator’s of the craft are in the Navy and not the Marine Corps. Marines know nothing about ships and boats, except that they are used for transportation. If I were in the Navy and had a bunch of people carrying rifles, climbing down out of a ship above me, I’d want a hard hat too.
Tranquilis seems to be the authority on most things naval, give him a ring.
Is it possible they were actually white pilot helmets? I think the hovercraft pilots/drivers wear them.
Having been a Marine and now a ship designer (a field which is thickly populated with Marines), I can tell you that they DO know some things about ships. Of course, what they primarily know while on board is that they want OFF.
It was one of the landing boats and not a hovercraft if it helps. I didn’t get that good a look in retrospect, its just what they looked liek to me.
The guys driving the landing craft are usually not Marines, but Squids. Small craft coxswains generally wear hardhats because they’ve got two major risks to their well-being:
- Major ordnance,
- Hard, heavy objects.
A combat helmet isn’t going to do squat against major ordnance, but a hardhat can do a pretty decent job of protecting you against whacking your head on randon pieces of hardware. The Marines, OTOH, are passengers until the craft reaches the beach, and are unlikely to be doing anything but sitting in their metal coffin until then, so they don’t need hardhats. Once they reach the beach, however, some of the major risks to a Marine’s well-being include small arms and fragmentation, against which a combat helmet can be quite a bit of help.
This doesn’t apply to Amtrac crew, whom are Marines, and will be wearing the Marine’s equivalent of the Armored Vehicle Crewman helmet, or a standard combat helmet. It also doesn’t apply to thecrew of an LCAC, whom wear Cranials (Image of a cranial that gave it’s all). Cranials are color-coded by job function.