Original U.S. WWII P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot Named A-2 Flight Jacket - 527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Lieutenant Frank "Mac" McGowan flew in a P-47 Thunderbolt in the European Theater of Operations during World War Two as a pilot assigned to the 527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 86th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.

This is a wonderful condition A-2 jacket that features with a fantastic hand painted large leather  527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron circular patch to left chest and shows a black bird thrown a yellow bomb down over his head. Above the patch is a leather branded name tag the reads F.L. McGowan and above the name tag is a pair of sterling silver pilot wings. The jacket is a large size 42 with original lining, original cuffs, original waistband, functional talon zipper and a data label from United Sheeplined Clothing Company. Attached to the front collar is a small brass bell that is engraved GOOD LUCK with a four leaf clover. Overall condition of the jacket is very good with supple leather but there is flaking cracking and some wear to the shoulders.

History of the 27th Fighter-Bomber Squadron:
Initially activated as the 312th Bombardment Squadron', a Douglas A-20 Havoc light bomber squadron in the southeast, trained under Third Air Force. Was realigned to a Douglas A-24 Banshee fighter-bomber squadron and redesignated as the 527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in August 1943.

Was deployed to Twelfth Air Force in North Africa in May 1943, being initially stationed in Algeria. Flying operations began 15 May from Médiouna Airfield, near Casablanca, French Morocco. Moved eastward supporting the Fifth Army with close air support missions. In the North African Campaign, the squadron engaged German positions in Tunisia.

In July, initial elements of the squadron moved to Sicily. From the Gela Airfield, begin flying combat missions, supporting the 1st Division of II Army Corps. On 27 August, the squadron provided air support for the first Allied landings on the European mainland at Salerno, Italy. On 10 September, three days after the invasion of Salerno, advance echelons of the squadron moved to Sele Airfield, near the beachhead. Enemy shelling of the beaches caused considerable difficulty during the move, and the 5527th did not fly its first missions until 15 September.

Moved north through Italy during the Italian Campaign, supported Allied forces by attacking enemy lines of communication, troop concentrations and supply areas. In April 1944 the squadron attacked the German Gustav Line. It also attacked rail and road targets and strafed German troop and supply columns during late spring.

The 527th was an active participant in Operation Strangle, the attempt to cut German supply lines prior to the Allied offensive aimed at rail and road networks, and attacking German troop and supply columns. While Strangle did not significantly cut into German supplies, it did disrupt enemy tactical mobility and was a major factor in the Allies’ eventual breakthrough. During this period the 527th received Curtiss P-40 Warhawks to augment its aging A-36s, but the obsolescent P-40s were only a stopgap measure. The 527th welcomed its first Republic P-47 Thunderbolts a few weeks later, on 23 June.

Moved to Corsica in July 1944. From Poretta Airfield, the squadron flew bombing missions against coastal defenses in direct support of Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France 15 Aug. 1944. Allied forces met little resistance as they moved inland twenty miles in the first twenty-four hours. Once the invasion was completed, the squadron moved back to northern Italy and continued its coastal basing by attacking enemy road and rail networks in northern Italy and, for the first time, flying regular escort missions with heavy bombers. The 527th also conducted armed reconnaissance against the enemy in the Po Valley region.

The 527th continued combat in northern Italy until February 1945, when it left the Mediterranean Theater and moved to Tantonville Airfield, France, in the Lorraine region, and operations shifted from targets in the Po Valley to those in southern Germany. The 527th's first mission to Germany – a cause of some excitement – was on 25 Feb. 1945, and by March most missions were flown into Germany against rail lines, roads, supply dumps, enemy installations and airfields. The squadron transferred from Tantonville to Braunshardt Airfield, near Darmstadt, Germany,

The 527th Fighter Squadron flew its final combat mission on 8 May 1945.

Just after the war, the squadron performed military occupation duty in Germany, with personnel demobilizing throughout the summer. The squadron's last personnel were sent back to the United States from AAF Station Schweinfurt, Germany, on 15 February 1946, with the squadron inactivated as an administrative unit in March.

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