Collection Item Summary:
This is an example of the standard issue United States Navy winter wool naval aviator uniform. Adopted in September 1917, the green uniform of the U.S. Marine Corps was authorized for aviation officers as a winter service uniform. The wearing of the aviation green uniform was mandatory only for commissioned and warrant officers designated as naval aviators, and CPOs designated naval aviation pilots, serving in pilot status. The green uniform was formally retired in November 1985.
This uniform was worn by the donor Frederick C. Durant III. Durant enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II and was a part of the pilot training program on the U.S.S. Wolverine in the Great Lakes.
Following the war, he worked for the Bell Aircraft from 1946 to 1947 on rocket development. From 1948 to 1951, he served as the Director of Engineering for the Naval Air Rocket Test Station. He returned to naval service as a test pilot in 1951, during in the Korean War. Following the war he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a space analyst. In the late 1950s, he was part of Vernher von Braun’s team that developed Explorer I, America’s first satellite.
In 1964, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC hired Durant as the head of the new Astronautics Department and was responsible for making the Museum the official repository for all flown NASA hardware. He retired from the Smithsonian in 1980.