Original U.S WWII B-24 Homeward Angel Named 784th Bomb Squadron A-2 Flight Jacket

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This jacket is featured on page 201 of American Flight Jackets (Atglen, PA, 2000) by Jon Maguire and John Conway, considered by many to be the bible of flight jacket collecting.

1st Lieutenant Marion W. "Pete" Henrie was a Co-Pilot on Crew #414 under Pilot Lieutenant John P. Huff and they were assigned to the 8th Air Force, 466th Bombardment Group, 784th Bomb Squadron. The Huff crew flew multiple Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft but the primary plane was called Homeward Angel. Huff completed a 30 mission tour and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for a completing a mission and returning home safely after being hit by flak on 8 April 1944. Lt. Marion W. Henrie completed 32 missions and you can learn more about him on the American Air Museum in Britain website at this link.  

This is an incredible hand painted and named type A-2 brown leather flying jacket that belonged to Lt. Henrie. The jacket features two front flap pockets and lapels with internal brass snap buttons and a functional front zipper by Conmar. Original USAAF data label still intact showing size 38. The left front chest bears a leather name tag and serial number that reads M.W. HENRIE 0-587194 beneath a tarnished set of silver U.S. pilot's wings badge and above a hand painted yellow P / HOMEWARD ANGEL with a sun design. Epaulets feature painted white lieutenant bars. The reverses of the jacket is painted with a yellow line picture of a Alberto Vargas-style seated pinup girl surrounded by yellow bombs representing missions flown - numbered from 1 to 32. Yellow paint was the most prevalent color to appear on flight jackets, followed by white, as paint in both colors was readily available on most airbase runways. the jacket leather is in fine supple condition. Knit waist band and cuffs appear to be period correct modern replacements.

A printed full color copy of page 201 of American Flight Jackets, and copies of both Henrie's photo and a photo of the B-24 Homeward Angel are included with this jacket.

Formed in mid-1943, the 466th Bombardment Group began operations on 22 March 1944 with a daylight raid on Berlin. Thereafter, the group operated as a strategic bombardment organization, targeting marshaling yards, airfields, factories and oil refineries in Western Europe and Germany. The numbered bombs on the back of this flying jacket worn by a member of the 466th represent completed missions. In 1942 when the 8th Air Force was established an airman who completed 25 missions was considered eligible for relief, but that number increased as more airman fulfilled their time. A significant number of servicemen also volunteered for additional tours of duty despite the significant attrition rates suffered by the 8th Air Force. Yellow paint is the most prevalent color to appear on flight jackets, followed by white, as paint in both colors was readily available on most airbase runways.

The 784th Bomb Squadron engaged in long-range strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and NSDAP Germany, March 1944-May 1945 attacking enemy military and industrial targets as part of the United States' air offensive against NSDAP Germany. Most personnel demobilized in Europe after the German capitulation in May 1945; a small cadre returned to the United States, being programmed for conversion to being a B-29 Superfortress very heavy bomb squadron and deployment to the Central Pacific to engage in strategic bombardment over Japan.
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