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Original U.S. WWII Army Air Forces B-24 Type A2 Leather Flight Jacket Named To 15th Air Force Bombardier Lt. George E. Sanchez - Prisoner of War

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Item Description

Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. First Lieutenant George E. Sanchez was a Bombardier on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers 41-28620 “Gadget” and 42-64454 “Wolf Pack”. He served with the 723rd Squadron in the 450th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force, under Pilot 2nd Lt. Richard C. Heffner.

In April 1944, the Fifteenth Air Force had begun a four-month campaign to destroy the petroleum refineries around Ploesti, Romania. In fact, the Fifteenth was all about oil at that point: Since Romania lay 1,300 miles from the English bases of the Eighth Air Force, Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining’s command had been established on fields surrounding Foggia, on Italy’s east coast—well within reach of the refineries. Romania had been a major power in the oil industry since the 1800s. It was one of the largest producers in Europe and Ploiești was a major part of that production. The Ploiești oil refineries provided about 30% of all Axis oil production.

During a mission over Ploiești on June 24, 1944, the “Wolf Pack” was positioned in the left element of the first attack unit. On the return route after the bombing run, Lieutenant Hefner called in and informed the other aircraft that his bomber was out of fuel and they were going to try and make for friendly territory. At approximately 1230 eight parachutes were seen leaving the B-24 known as “Wolf Pack”, Lt. Sanchez and the crew had to bail out.

It wasn’t long after landing before the crew was captured by enemy forces, becoming prisoners of war. Lt. Sanchez was sent to Stalag 7A in Moosburg, Bavaria 48-12. The camp is also seen written as Stalag 7a Moosburg Bavaria 48 12 Work Camps 3324 46 Krumbachstrasse 48011 Work Camp 3368 Munich 48 11.

Allied aircrew shot down during World War II were incarcerated after interrogation in Air Force Prisoner of War camps run by the Luftwaffe, called Stalag Luft, short for Stammlager Luft or Permanent Camps for Airmen.

Stalag VII-A was the largest prisoner-of-war camp in NSDAP Germany during World War II, located just north of the town of Moosburg in southern Bavaria. The camp covered an area of 35 hectares (86 acres). It served also as a transit camp through which prisoners, including officers, were processed on their way to other camps. At some time during the war, prisoners from every nation fighting against Germany passed through it. At the time of its liberation on 29 April 1945, there were 76,248 prisoners in the main camp and 40,000 or more in Arbeitskommando working in factories, repairing railroads or on farms.

Sanchez and the crew had spent the rest of the war at this camp until its liberation.

1st Lt. Sanchez POW Citation
First Lieutenant (Air Corps) George E. Sanchez (ASN: 0-751936), United States Army Air Forces, was captured by German forces after he was shot down on or about June 24, 1944 and was held as a Prisoner of War until his return to U.S. Military Control at the end of hostilities in May 1945.

George E. Sanchez continued to serve in the United States Army after the war, receiving his discharge on November 17, 1952. Lt. Sanchez passed away on April 4, 2002.

This is an incredible A-2 bomber jacket that’s packed full of history. Comes ready to display with a binder of research!

Collar to shoulder: 11”
Shoulder to sleeve: 24”
Shoulder to shoulder: 19”
Chest width: 18”
Waist width: 21”
Hip width: 17”
Front length: 27"

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