Original U.S. WWII Miss Burma 47th Bombardment Group A-2 Flight Jacket
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This jacket was featured on page 120 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. The description in the book reads:
The air gunner who wore this jacket apparently flew 38 missions of a 50 mission tour (it is difficult to tell exactly what he was representing with his bomb scoreboard, as there are 50 bombs, but only 38 numbered). The jacket was acquired from a family member so all details are not available. The dogs on the flaps represent the squadron mascot, and the map of Italy indicates where he served. The wing on the chest signifies air gunner and the squadron patch is the 86th Bomb Squadron, 47th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force. The paintings on the back of the jacket indicate he flew missions in A-20 havocs and A-26 Invaders. The A-20 was nicknamed "Miss Burma." The 86th Bomb Squadron flew out of numerous bases including French Morocco, Sicily, Italy and France.
This is an incredible A2 leather flight jacket issued to a gunner on the crew of the Douglas A-20B Havoc known as MISS BURMA which was assigned to the 86th Bomb Squadron, 47th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force. Miss Burma flew 270 missions over 33 months. Photos of Miss Burma and one of her crews can be found at this link. Astounding!
This jacket was also featured in an online article in Collector's Weekly entitled WWII War Paint: How Bomber-Jacket Art Emboldened Our Boys which was an interview with John Maguire and can be seen at this link.
This A-2 flying jacket has fantastic features which include:
- Reverse of jacket features a crisp blue with red outline painted A-20 Havoc "Miss Burma" and A-46 Invader (faded).
- The left chest bears an Italian made heavy bullion embroidered air gunner badge and a rare Italian made leather Bomb Squadron hand painted full color 86th Bomb Squadron circular patch. On the pocket flap is a blue/red dog insignia which represents the squadron mascot.
- The right chest has 50 hand painted white bombs (missions) all in very good condition. The first 38 are numbered. Below this is a map of Italy in orange which reads ITALY in blue lettering. On the pocket flap is a blue/red dog insignia which represents the squadron mascot.
- Left shoulder bears an Italian made heavy bullion embroidered 12th Air Force patch insignia.
- Right shoulder bears an Italian made leather American Flag patch.
Overall condition of the jacket is excellent. The leather is still supple and does not have any major cracking or damage. The liner is original and the cuffs and waist band also appear to be original or perhaps period replacements. The zipper is CONMAR and fully functional. There is an original maker data tag which reads:
DWG. NO. 30-1415
AIR FORCE , U.S. ARMY
AERO LEATHER CLO.CO
A truly amazing A-2 jacket with wonderful had painted art which was all documented in the bible of U.S. Flight Jackets!
History of the 86th Bombardment Squadron in World War Two:
On 20 November 1940, a new squadron was designated the 86th Bombardment Squadron, Light. Activated on 15 January 1941 and stationed at McChord Field, Washington, its primary mission was antisubmarine patrols utilizing Douglas B-18 Bolo aircraft. In the six years that followed, the 86th traveled to all parts of the world earning a proud history. The mission was expanded to include training personnel for overseas duty and combat operations.
In 1942, the 86th started its journey through various parts of Europe and North Africa. It was stationed in approximately 20 different locations including French Morocco, Canrobert Airfield, Algeria, and Salon-de-Provence Airfield, France. During that time, the 86th supported combat operations with the Douglas DB-7 and Douglas A-20 Havoc and the Douglas A-26 Invader aircraft. The 86th Bombardment Squadron received numerous campaign streamers and the Distinguished Unit Citation in 1943 and again in 1945. It went on to fly combat missions in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations from 14 December 1942 until 30 April 1945.
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