Original U.S. WWII Long Rangers 371st Bomb Squadron A-2 Flight Jacket
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. The 307th Bombardment Group was part of the 13th Air Force and consisted of the 370th, 371st, 372nd, and 424th Bomb Squadrons. The group was known as the "The Long Rangers" due to their long missions over long open stretches of the Pacific including missions to Truk, Yap, Palau, Philippines and Balikpapan, Borneo (the Ploesti raid of the Pacific war—the unescorted mission against vital oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo). Some of the missions were over 17 hour unescorted round trips over open water with no landmarks. However, the 307th Bomb Group never received the press, fame and accolades that we piled on the bomb groups in Europe due to their remote theatre of operation and the fact that many of their missions were controlled by the Navy.
The 312st Bomb Squadron Formed as a heavy bombardment group in January 1942, trained in the Pacific Northwest under Second Air Force, with B-17 Flying Fortresses. Reassigned to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii, November 1942 and performed performing search and rescue and antisubmarine patrols until January 1943 while transitioning to long-range B-24 Liberator heavy bombers.
Deployed to Central Pacific from Hawaii throughout 1943 for long-range combat bombardment operations against Japanese forces in the Central Pacific; New Guinea; Northern Solomon Islands and Eastern Mandates campaigns. Deployed to the New Hebrides in Melanesia and operated from numerous temporary jungle airfields, engaging in long-range bombardment operations during the Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon and Southern Philippines campaigns until the end of the war in August 1945
This A-2 flying jacket has fantastic features which include:
- Reverse of jacket features a hand painted design with "Long Rangers" in white and red paint above full color B-24 Liberator flying through the clouds. Below the plane is 41 next to a bomb, typically this denotes the number os successful bombing mission the owner completed. Often the bombs were not actually painted until the veteran had arrived home from overseas.
- The left chest bears a beautiful hand painted set of Air Gunner wings above which is the named "Al".
- The right chest has a hand painted full color 371st Bomb squadron insignia.
- Right upper arm bears a hand painted 13th Air Force insignia above which it reads Jungle Air Force.
Overall condition of the jacket is excellent. Offered in a large size 42. The leather is still supple and does not have any major cracking or damage. The liner is original and the cuffs and waist band are also original with expected wear. The zipper is by Talon and fully functional. There is an original maker data tag by Rough Wear Clothing Co. The tag appears to have been restitched into the jacket, meaning its possible the lining was replaced, however, the lining does appear to be original due to the wear. The knit cuffs and waist band may be period correct replacements and show minor wear.
Also included is a glossy color printed scan from page 112 of the wonderful book AMERICAN FLIGHT JACKETS by Jon A. Maguire and John P. Conway considered by many to be the bible of flight jacket collecting. Page 112 shows a very similar jacket to this which was also from the 307th Bombardment Group.
A truly amazing A-2 jacket with wonderful had painted art from one of the most notable but less well known Bomb Groups of World War Two!
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