After the attack on Pearl Harbor, salvage divers were forced to work in some very tight and dangerous conditions. The depth of the work also did not necessarily require the use of a Mark V helmet and gear. A Miller Dunn shallow water helmet would not have worked well in that environment as well. The solution was the use of modified gas masks. The attached black and white photo of a diver on that day shows the use of what is referred to as a Bug Eye gas mask modified for diving.
This specific Bug Eye mask does have USN molded into the top. The mask shows signs of use and age as shown in the detailed photos. Of special note, an original faceform is present with this mask! These forms were shipped with the masks so they held their shape and did not get smashed or damaged. Most of the time the support form was discarded after use. The faceform is in place behind the mask in the photos. These rubber gas and diving masks are important pieces of diving history that many people do not realize exist. Due to the nature of their construction, finding intact examples is a rare occurrence.
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