Original U.S. WWII B-24 Liberator 98th Bombardment Group Named A-2 Flight Jacket with Italian Theatre Patches
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Staff Sergeant W. Marsh was a crew member aboard a B-24 Liberator in the 98th Bombardment Group stationed in Italy during WWII. He participated in multiple bombing runs including one over Klagenfurt, Austria on April 11th, 1945. This incredible condition personalized A-2 leather flight jacket was his as is evident by his name on the front and a photograph of him from Aprils 2nd ,1945 of him wearing this very jacket! A high resolution printed copy of the photo is included with the purchase of this jacket along with an original period printed aerial photograph of bomb detonating over Klagenfurt, Austria that is dated April 11th, 1945.
From November 1st, 1943 the 98th Bombardment Group was under the Fifteenth Air Force and moved to Italy. Flying B-24 liberators it flew many long-range missions to France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania to bomb enemy heavy industries, airdromes, harbors, oil fields, and communication centers. On another raid on Ploesti on 9 July 1944, Lt. Donald Pucket sacrificed his life trying to save three of his crewmembers who could not or would not bail out of their doomed B-24. Donald Pucket was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his sacrifice.
In the summer of 1944, the 98th participated in the invasion of southern France, assisted in the Soviet advance into the Balkans, and supported the partisans and guerrillas in Yugoslavia and neighboring countries. It flew a total of 417 missions and earned a total of 15 battle streamers as well as two Presidential Unit Citations.
The group returned to the United States as the war was ending in Europe, where it trained in preparation for movement to the Pacific Theater. It was re-designated the 98th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, but the war with Japan ended before redeployment.
The jacket has some exceptional features including:
- Italian made painted leather embossed 98th Bombardment Group insignia patch of a blue shield with gold, a hand dropping a bomb and a laurel wreath with the FORCE FOR FREEDOM below, stitched to left breast.
- Italian made multi-color hand painted leather embossed map of Europe, including France, German, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Czech, Poland, Rumania, Bulgary, and others. The entire patch is encompassed with white bombs and is stitched to the right breast.
- Ultra RARE Italian made painted leather embossed 15th Air Force insignia on left shoulder. This is the roman numeral style XV with pilot wings above, this is a rarest of all insignias for the 15th AF. This is further personalized with CONNECTICUT above and 98 BOMB GROUP below.
The tag inside this size 38 jacket has information regarding the maker and contract:
DRAWING No. 30-1415
Order Bo. W535 A.C. 27798
AIR FORCE U.S. ARMY
J.A. DUBOW MFG. CO.
Offered in overall very good condition with areas of wear to the internal lining, but externally excellent condition supple leather, with original lining, and replacement waistband and cuffs, and fully functional original Talon zipper, this is not one to miss.
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