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The First World War was the first major military conflict to see the utilization of aircraft in both reconnaissance and attack missions. As United States aircraft took to the sky, pilots were naturally afflicted by the intense sun at higher altitudes. Combat pilots would often land with exhausted and strained eyes after flights with no eye protection. To remediate this issue, The Army Air Corp contracted a project to optics manufacturer Bausch & Lomb with the aim to have sun blocking glasses for all of their pilots.


After World War II, the aviator really became the iconic fashion statement it is today. Throughout the conflict, thousands of aviation personnel would receive their own pair of aviators. General Douglas MacArthur wore his pair of aviators when the U.S. retook the Philippines. Millions of Americans saw photos of the heroic general storming the Philippines with his corn cob pipe, ornate hat, and aviator sunglasses.


When the boys came home, they brought their military aviators with them.


While the aviator has become one of the most popular consumer sunglasses style in the world, it has remained a staple of military gear for the U.S. military. Since 1978, Randolph Engineering has been producing aviator sunglasses for the U.S. military. It is currently in its 4th 5-year term, supplying the HGU-4/P to the US Army and Navy and allied Air Forces world-wide.

1978 - Randolph produces eyewear as a subcontractor for the US Military.
1982 - The United States Air Force contracts Randolph to produce the HGU-4/P Aviator Sunglass directly.
1990 - Desert Storm – The Department of Defense contracts Randolph to produce 70,000 optical inserts annually for the M17 chemical-biological mask. Randolph delivers 200,000 units before the conclusion of Desert Storm. Not a single unit is returned due to quality issues.
2000 - Randolph is awarded their first contract for the Frame of Choice (FOC) spectacle program which provides soldiers with an alternative to current standard-issue military spectacles for Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and NASA.
2012 - Randolph currently supplies the HGU-4/P to the US Army and Navy and allied Air Forces world-wide while maintaining the Frame of Choice contract