Original U.S. WWII 13th Airborne M1942 Paratrooper Jacket Identified with Dog Tag

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Staff Sergeant Ellis E. Stern Jr. (ASN: 13132751) was a member of the 13th Airborne division during World War Two. According to his obituary which can be found at this link, he participated in multiple jumps in the ETO. As the 13th did not jump during WW2, we can only assume he was originally assigned to the a different Airborne division and was later transferred the 13th. S/SGT Stern's jacket and dog tag were recently acquired from the Bob Ford collection, with Mr. Ford having acquired the group directly from the veteran in 1985.

The coat consists of four front pockets with two button snaps on each, along with a unique dual-zippered knife pocket located on the upper lapel which was designed to contain a switchblade pocketknife, used to cut the parachute rigging if entangled. The top two pockets were also angled inward to make items easier to retrieve with the opposite hand.

The jacket is in excellent condition. The left shoulder features a 13th Airborne patch and the right a 1st Allied Airborne patch. Both sleeves have Staff Sergeant chevrons. Zipper is complete and functional. Size is 40 regular.

The 13th Airborne Division was an airborne forces formation of division-size of the United States Army that was active during World War II. The division was commanded for most of its existence by Major General Elbridge G. Chapman. It was officially activated in the United States in August 1943 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, remaining active until February 1946, however it never saw combat.

After activation the division remained in the United States to complete its training. This training was completed by September 1944, but had to be extended by a further four months when the division provided replacements for the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The division also encountered delays in mounting large-scale training exercises due to a lack of transport aircraft in the United States. This shortage was caused by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions taking priority over the 13th in terms of equipment due to the two divisions serving in combat in Europe. As a consequence of these delays the division was not fully trained and combat-ready until January 1945, and was transferred to France and the European Theater of Operations in February.

When the division arrived in France, it came under the command of the First Allied Airborne Army, which controlled all Allied airborne formations. The division, along with two others, was selected to participate in Operation Varsity, the airborne operation to support the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group crossing the River Rhine, but was removed from the operation due to there being insufficient transport aircraft to carry all three divisions into combat. Several other operations were planned for the division after the end of Operation Varsity, but these operations were cancelled when their objectives were captured by the rapid advance of Allied ground forces and they became superfluous.[5] After the end of the conflict in Europe, the 13th Airborne was shipped to the United States to stage there before it was to participate in the planned invasion of Japan, but the conflict in the Far East ended before it was required and it remained in the United States. The 13th Airborne Division was finally inactivated on 26 February 1946 and its combat personnel were transferred to the command of the 82nd Airborne Division.

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