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Classics Never Go Out Of Style. The Original Military Issue Sunglasses.

Updated on February 15, 2012

My Military Issue Sunglasses

Timeless Style Has Staying Power

I love high performance eyewear. Ever since I was old enough to afford quality sunglasses, they were on my face every time the sun was out. One of my earliest recolections of this style of military issue sunglasses was when I was about 7 years old. My father who at the time was in the Air Force came home from work one day sporting these sunglasses. I didn't realize it at the time but the impression they made stuck with me.

Fast forward 11 years. I followed in my fathers footsteps and joined the military as well. Except it was the Navy. Top Gun was the hit movie of the decade and the military sunglasses Tom Cruise wore had hit the fashion scene. Everybody was wearing them.

A couple of years later bright neon colored Oakleys and Ray Ban Wayfarers were on everybody's faces but through all of those faddish styles, flying under the radar were sunglasses that stood the test of time.

Since 1958 when the first set of military issue sunglasses aptly named "Pilot Goggle Number 58" first hit the supply shelves within the military, these protective shades flown in every military aircraft forward deployed to every conflict America has been involved in.

American Optical was the first manufacturer to begin producing them at the time with a pair of these shades even making its way to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969. Commander Neil Armstrong had a pair stashed away on his famous ride and if I'm not mistaken they're on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for all to admire. Later on, another manufacturer got into the game. Randolph Engineering also received a contract and they still make them for the military today. I actually received two pair of Randolph eyeglasses when I worked on the flight deck and had to wear them in order to continue my duties. The requirments for working the flight deck on carriers is that one must have vision correctable to 20/20.

This style of frame is perfect for both pilots and flight deck personnel that are required to wear helmets with over the ear sound protection. The bayonet style ear pieces help to prevent loss of hearing protection and keep the seal of the headset around the ear.

One reason I love my pair so much other than the coolness factor is that during cold weather, they don't fog up for me. Going from a warm room to the icy, frigid conditions of an upper mid-west winter, they don't seem to fog nearly as easily as my Arnett's. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they sit further away from my eye socket than some of the other brands out there which brings me to a negative aspect of these sunglasses.

On bright days when the sun hits my face at a right angle, too much light will get through the sides and not perform as well in providing proper shade. But that is not a deal breaker in my decision to stick with these. Overall they rock.

For the price, these sunglasses are built like a tank. Solid construction throughout with lenses that exceed ANSI Z-803 standard for impact resistance which means they will take a beating and may even save your sight one day. Hey, it beats wearing crappy $10 gas station brand glasses that may shatter into your eyes in an accident.

At the end of the day, deciding to stay with styles that have endured is always a good choice no matter what it is.


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