Original U.S. WWII P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot Named A-2 Flight Jacket - 85th Fighter Squadron
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Lieutenant William S. Stalter flew an astounding 96 missions in a P-47 Thunderbolt primary in the Mediterranean theater during World War Two. He was the recipient of the Air Medal with Oak Leaf cluster. His 1943 training class along with a photo of him as an Air Cadet can be found at this link. He is also photographed and recorded in the History of the 85th Fighter Squadron on page 148.
This is a nice condition A-2 jacket that features with some wonderful hand painted art including: Large leather hand painted 85th Fighter Squadron circular patch to left chest and shows a a skull with wings flying through blue skies and clouds. The reverse of the jacket is painted with a P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. Jacket is a large size 38 with original lining, original cuffs, original waistband, functional zipper and a data label from AERO Leather Company of Beacon, NY. The interior lining of the jacket is stenciled in black paint
W. J. STALTER
Overall condition of the jacket is very good but shows leather wear, cracking, flaking and overall age,
Also included are copies of wartime photos of Lt. Stalter in uniform, one of him wearing his flight gear and sitting in the cockpit of a P-47, see images.
The 85th Fighter Squadron in WW2: Activated on 9 February 1942. Moved to Egypt, October–November 1942, and became part of Ninth Air Force.
Trained with Curtiss P-40 Warhawks's while moving westward in the wake of the British drive across Egypt and Libya to Tunisia. Although many of the unit's pilots flew combat missions with other organizations, the 79th group itself did not begin operations until March 1943. By escorting bombers, attacking enemy shipping, and supporting ground forces, took part in the Allied operations that defeated Axis forces in North Africa, captured Pantelleria, and conquered Sicily.
Assigned to Twelfth Air Force in August 1943 and continued to support British Eighth Army by attacking troop contingents, gun positions, bridges, roads, and rail lines in southern Italy. Operated in the area of the Anzio beachhead, January–March 1944. Participated in the drive on Rome, March–June 1944, and converted to P-47 Thunderbolts during that time. Flew escort and strafing missions in southern France during August and September 1944, and afterward engaged in air interdiction and close air support operations in northern Italy.
Remained overseas as part of United States Air Forces in Europe after the war as part of the occupation force. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in June 1947. Inactivated on 15 July 1947.
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