Moore’s tortoiseshell pattern helmet liner, produced at some point in the 1950s, was made from laminated cotton duck (also known as duck canvas) and featured a number of fastening points for the canvas suspension system, neck strap, and chin strap. The suspension system is a WWII-era design; the Army introduced a slightly improved system in 1964, but Moore appears to have kept his older model. His liner features a pair of “A” straps, one to either side, present in all liners designed for parachutists.
The M1 helmet (seen through the tear in the cover) was made of manganese steel (also known as Hadfield steel), a steel alloy made with roughly 1% carbon and 13% manganese. This particular alloy is highly resistant to abrasion and high impact stress, giving the wearer effective protection against grenade and shell fragments (though only partial protection from small arms rounds). The M1 helmet was coated with an olive green paint which contained silica sand; the rim of the helmet has lost some of its coating where the cover has torn. Right-handed soldiers like Moore would touch that part in order to adjust their helmet, leading to wear.
The oak leaf insignia denoting Moore’s rank (Lieutenant Colonel) is the subdued pattern designed to be worn in the field. The flat copper color of the subdued pattern is much less visible than the bright silver of the regular insignia pattern, making it harder for enemy soldiers to identify and target U.S. officers engaged in combat.
This rear view of the helmet shows the standard helmet strap tucked in beneath the elastic headband to keep it out of the way. Moore’s helmet had a parachutist-type liner with “A”-straps and an attached chin band which he would use instead of the standard chin strap.
The side view of Moore’s helmet shows a pattern of rust spots on the cover where chips in the coating of the steel helmet has allowed oxidation to occur. The horizontal slits in the fabric were standard features of the Mitchell Cover, designed to allow soldiers to insert bits of foliage to create natural-looking camouflage. The elastic cotton headband, a relatively pristine piece of gear that Moore added to the helmet at a later date to replace the worn-out original, was most often used by soldiers as a way to carry insect repellent in a place that was easily accessible.
This was the M1C model helmet that Lt. Col. Hal Moore wore as commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, and during the battle at LZ X-Ray on 14-16 November 1965. The helmet consists of several parts including the Mitchell Pattern helmet cover, an elastic cotton helmet band, the steel shell, and a helmet liner beneath that which is attached to a six-point canvas suspension system, headband, chin strap, and nape strap. Moore’s rank insignia, the oak leaf of a lieutenant colonel, is affixed to the front of the cover. The entire helmet system weighs just over three pounds.