US NAVY TALKER HELMET – PROTECTION FOR THE NERVES OF THE SHIP

During WWII, the US Navy utilized a sound-powered Interior Communications (I.C.) system for internal communications within a ship. The system allowed the Captain to get the information he needed to command the ship and make quick decisions in times of emergency. The ship’s crew also used the system to immediately pass information between stations and personnel. For example, a Gunnery Officer would use the system to communicate with his multiple gun crews and the Officer of the Deck would inform the Combat Information Center of any messages received from other ships, planes or shore bases.



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40mm Gunners and Talker aboard the USS Alaska in 1945

A specially trained sailor who transmitted and received these messages was designated a “talker” by the US Navy. The talker would receive a message from an officer then relay it to a fellow talker in another station who would in turn report the message to that station’s officer.  

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A US Navy talker outfitted with a talker helmet and sound-powered headset

Due to the size of the communication equipment required to be worn by talkers, the US Navy designed a special helmet large enough to accommodate the bulky sound-powered headsets while providing the wearer with enough protection during battle. The helmet had a padded interior with a leather chincup that attached through holes on the helmet’s sides. Although designated the USN MK-2, the helmet is commonly known as the Talker Helmet.

The Talker Helmet saw service throughout WWII and continued to be used well after the war. Although originally painted a navy blue-grey color, Talker Helmets have been painted numerous colors depending on the station the wearer was assigned to.

The WWII Talker helmet has become quite collectible due to the helmet’s unique and easily recognizable shape and for the important contribution it made protecting Navy talkers during WWII and for many years after.



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Front of the MK-2 Talker Helmet

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Side view

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Interior

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US Navy sound powered headset and microphone

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Close up

1943 Telephone Talker’s Manual (Click to Enlarge)

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