Original 1970s U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron 32 VF-32 MA1 Type Flight Jacket - The "Fighting Swordsmen"
Original Item: Only One Available. The MA-1 bomber jacket (also known as the MA-1 flight jacket) is an American military jacket which was developed in the 1950s. The MA-1 and its predecessor, the B-15 flight jacket, were originally developed and needed at that time because the emergence of the jet age created new requirements for pilot performance, safety, and comfort. The design was revised numerous times, but still retained the same basic features. The design was in use by the U.S. Military well into the late 20th century, and the look is iconic.
This is a very good condition MA-1 flight jacket that features an embroidered 1970s era VF-32 "Fighting Swordsmen" insignia patch sewn to the left chest. There also appears to at one time have been the name Joe on the right chest. It has some slight wear to the lower elastic band, but is overall sound, with no major damage or other issues. The zippers all function, and the size is a U.S. 44, as indicated by a small faded label in the left exterior pocket. This pocket also still has the complete manufacturers label, indicating it is a JACKET, FLYER'S MAN INTERMEDIATE, MA-1, made by I. SPIEWAK & SONS, INC.. The number 85 is also written into the inside of all the main pockets.
A very nice example, ready to display or even wear!
U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron was first established on 1 February 1945 as Bombing Fighting Three (VBF-3) flying the F6F Hellcat, when it was split off from VF-3, the famed Felix squadron. Fritz Wolf, a former member of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or Flying Tigers, was assigned as the first VBF-3 commanding officer. At the time, U.S. Navy carriers were closing on the Japanese home islands and were facing aggressive Kamikaze attacks. VBF-3 was assigned to Carrier Air Group THREE on board USS Yorktown in the Pacific theater. On 16 February 1945, VBF-3 pilots became the Navy's first carrier-based pilots to strike the Japanese islands. During the heavy action on that day, the squadron shot down 24 Japanese aircraft, earning the Presidential Unit Citation.
On 15 November 1946, VBF-3 was redesignated VF-4A and switched to the F8F-1 Bearcat. On 7 August 1948, VF-4A became VF-32 and switched to the F4U Corsair.
Originally, the squadron used the Fighting Three Felix the Cat symbol and called themselves the "Crazy Cats" because so many pilots were from Fighting Three. At one time, the squadron was known as the "White Lightning." In 1950, the squadron adopted the insignia of a traditional heraldry lion under Naval Aviation wings of gold and the motto "Deus et Patria" that has endured with only slight modernization through today. The VF-32 squadron radio callsign is "Gypsy" and most alumni refer to themselves as "Gypsies". The squadron picked up the nickname Swordsmen after it switched to the F-8 Crusader and added a sword to the lion's hand.
In 1950, the squadron were deployed to the Korean War with F4Us aboard USS Leyte. From October 1950 to January 1951, VF-32 hit Korean targets including Wonsan Harbor, Puckchong, Chonjin, and Chosin Reservoir. On 4 December 1950, the aircraft of Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first Black American Naval Aviator, was hit by flak while supporting embattled Marines at Chosin. He crash-landed his Corsair behind enemy lines on a snow-covered mountain slope. His wingman, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., could see that Brown survived the forced landing, but appeared to be trapped in the cockpit with smoke coming from the engine compartment. In an attempt to save his squadron mate, Hudner crash-landed his plane alongside Browns'. Hudner found Brown semi-conscious, but was unable to extricate him from the crumpled fuselage. Brown died in Hudner's arms, and although the attempted rescue failed, Hudner received the Medal of Honor and Brown received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
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