Original U.S. WWII Named Pilot 96th Bomb Squadron A-2 Flight Jacket
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is an wonderful A2 leather flight jacket issued to Captain Richard P. Long who was a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber pilot in the 2nd Bomb Group, 96th Bomb Squadron, 15th Air Force during WWII. His plane was 42-29619 B17F named Road Hog. Captain long flew as a pilot on numerous missions during 1943 and 1944 including the first wave lead plane on Mission 150 on 24 Feb 1944 to Steyr, Austria. This mission was well know because en route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross for the performance.
Mission 150 was a part of what was called "Big Week" in Defenders of Liberty. It was a very concentrated move against the production of German aircraft by both the 15th AF and the 8th AF. They dated from August 20th to August 25. Bad weather hindered some of the operations but the mission to Steyr, Austria on February 24th went as planned and was completed, but not without terrible losses. As you can see from the chart in the photos the first wave made it through in good shape except for the 20th Squadron, which lost 2 planes. The second wave was not so lucky and sustained terrible losses.
This A2 Flying Jacket features a leather name tag on left breast that reads a R.P. Long. Below the name tag is hand painted leather 96th Bombardment Squadron patch insignia. Jacket bears leather captain's bars on each shoulder, and working original zipper. The waist and wrist cuffs are all original and have some moth nips. The jacket liner is original and intact with expected wear. Jacket retains all original functioning snaps on the pockets and neck closure.
Also include with purchase is a binder of research on Capt. Long, his plane and the 96th BS.
History of the 96th Bomb Squadron:
After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, served on antisubmarine duty along the mid-Atlantic coastline as part of I Bomber Command for several months until AAF Antisubmarine Command was formed and took over that duty.
Re-equipped with more modern B-17F Flying Fortresses and assigned to II Bomber Command in Pacific Northwest for transition and combat training in late 1942 and early 1943. Moved to North Africa in April 1943, carrying out bombing missions in Algeria and Tunisia as part of Twelfth Air Force during the North African Campaign. Flew many support and interdictory missions, bombing such targets as marshalling yards, airdromes, troop concentrations, bridges, docks, and shipping. Participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia, Apr-May 1943; the reduction of Pantelleria and the preparations for the invasion of Sicily, May-Jul 1943; the invasion of Italy, Sep 1943.
42-29619 B-17 Flying Fortress:
Delivered Cheyenne 17/1/43; Salina 31/1/43; Kearney 7/2/43; Morrison 10/3/43; Assigned 96BS/2BG Navarin 17/4/43; Chateau-du-Rhumel 27/4/43; Ain M'Lila 17/6/43; Massicault 31/7/43; Bizerte 2/12/43; Amendola 9/12/43; 99BG Tortorella 28/3/43; 483BG Tortorella 31/3/44; 463BG 9/44; Returned to the USA Morrison 26/4/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Bush Fd 18/6/45. ROAD HOG.
Transferred to Fifteenth Air Force in December 1943 and engaged in bombing operations primarily in Italy in support of the Allied drive north toward Rome, Jan-Jun 1944; the Invasion of southern France, Aug 1944; and the campaigns against German forces in northern Italy, Jun 1944-May 1945. Engaged primarily in long-range bombardment of strategic targets after Oct 1943, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, steel plants, and other objectives in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Greece.
En route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross for the performance. On the following day, while on a mission to attack aircraft factories at Regensburg, it met similar opposition equally well and was awarded a second DUC. Served as part of the occupation force in Italy after V-E Day.
This is an excellent condition named Captain's B-17 Pilot A-2 bomber jacket from the European theater of WW2 with an ultra rare patch and a known history. It doesn't get much nicer than this one!
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