Original U.S. WWII 8th Air Force Painted A-2 Leather Flight Jacket - 453rd Bomb Group - Same as Jimmy Stewart - Lt. Anthony J. Valente

Item Description

Painted WWII American A-2 Flight Jackets have realized unprecedented prices in the past year. For example jackets at Rock Island Auctions sold in 2022 for $32,000+ and $23,000+ respectively they can be found at this link and this  link. When comparing the Rock Island Auction jackets with the one offered here, one can easily see that our offering is an exceptional value!

Original Item: One of a Kind. This is an absolutely beautiful World War Two American painted A-2 flight jacket, named to Lt. Anthony J. Valente. In researching lieutenant Valente we were able to uncover is that he served as a Navigator with the 8th Army Air Force, 453rd Bomb Group (same as Actor and Officer Jimmy Stewart), 732nd Bomb Squadron. We found an entry for him at the American Air Museum in Britain website which can be seen at this link. According to which is a project of the Army Air Corps Library and Museum, Anthony J Valente served his country in World War II with the 453rd Bombardment Group and was awarded the Air Medal on April 2nd, 1944 and the Distinguished Flying Cross on July 2nd, 1944. This information can be seen at this link. We also found an announcement of his passing in an 8th Air Force 1996 holiday newsletter (copy included).

The A-2 jacket, which is in wonderful condition with fantastic hand painted insignia. The left chest features an incredibly painted Pilot’s Wings above the name LT. A. J. VALENTE. Beneath the name are 31 red with white border painted bombs, with the 31st bomb marked as “LAST ONE”, meaning he went on a total of 31 missions!

The reverse of the jacket has a large painting of a B-24 Liberator flying through the blue sky with white clouds. Much of the details in the paint have faded but the silhouette of the aircraft is certainly visible.

Jacket is in size US 36 and has retained all original components including original knit waist band and sleeve cuffs, something we often see replaced on A-2 jackets that saw extensive service. Also original is the CROWN brand zipper which is still functional. Both epaulets have a painted Lieutenant bar.

The interior lining does have tearing and stitching loss present, so do handle it with care. Also present on the interior lining is an stenciled A.J.V. which are his initials. The top rear back portion of the liner still retains the original tag which reads as:

DRAWING No. 30-1415
A.C. NO. 535 ac29191

This is an incredible example of a hard to find painted A-2 jacket, offered in wonderful condition. Comes more than ready for further research and display.

453rd Bombardment Group
The 453rd Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit that was first organized in June 1943, during World War II, as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber group. After training in the United States, it deployed to England in December 1943, and, starting in February 1944, participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany with Eighth Air Force. Its 733d Bombardment Squadron completed 82 consecutive missions without a loss, a record for Eighth Air Force bomber units. James Stewart, of film fame, was group operations officer from 31 March to 1 July 1944. The group was programmed for redeployment to the Pacific and returned to the United States in May 1945 for training, however the Japanese surrender canceled these plans and the group was inactivated in September 1945.

The group was redesignated the 453rd Operations Group and activated at Fairchild Air Force Base in June 1992 to command Air Mobility Command (AMC)'s air refueling units at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was inactivated in July 1994, when the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild became an air refueling unit and transferred from Air Combat Command to AMC.

It was converted to provisional status as the 453d Expeditionary Air Refueling Group in 2002.

732nd Bombardment Squadron
The 732d Bombardment Squadron is a former United States Army Air Forces unit. It was assigned to the 453d Bombardment Group and last stationed at Fort Dix Army Air Base, New Jersey, where it was inactivated on 12 September 1945. The squadron was first activated in May 1943. After training in the United States with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, the squadron deployed to the European Theater of Operations, participating in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Following V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States for conversion as a very heavy bomber unit for further service in the Pacific, but was inactivated after the surrender of Japan.

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