Original USMC Pilot Type G-1 Leather Flight Jacket Red Devils - Vietnam War Era
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Dating from the Vietnam war this excellent condition leather G-1 flight jacket with fur collar is size 42 and has a patch on the right breast of the VMFA-232 RED DEVILS Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
On the right breast is a large circular patch that reads ROCKET CITY- TURN-AROUND CREW- VIETNAM 1972.
On the right arm is a third patch that reads ROSE GARDEN- H&MS 15. The Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong in Nam Phong district, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand in June 1972 became a base of operations for United States Marine Corps air operations by Marine Aircraft Group 15, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Elements of squadrons that had previously been located in Da Nang, South Vietnam were moved to Namphong starting in June 1972. The advance party that first arrived landed to find basically an airfield in the middle of the jungle. At that time the base consisted of a runway, parking apron and a few wooden buildings. A United States Navy Seabee battalion (MCB 5) was soon clearing the jungle and some 10 man tents were hastily erected to sleep and work in. Since the conditions were rugged, the base soon came to be called "The Rose Garden" after the song by Miss Lynn Anderson and the Marine recruiting campaign based on it saying "We never promised you a Rose Garden", depicting a scary Marine Drill Instructor addressing a mortified recruit.
The squadrons soon in residence included H&MS-15, MABS-15, VMFA-115 and VMFA-232 with F-4 Phantom IIs, VMA(AW)-533 with A-6 Intruders, VMGR-152 with KC-130 Hercules, and H&MS-36, Det "D" with CH-46 Sea Knights.
This group soon was joined by 3rd Battalion 9th Marines who served as the security element. Marine Air Traffic Control Unit 62 (MATCU 62) handled the airport traffic control operations including the airport tower and GCA radar(Ground Controlled Approach). The force occupying "The Rose Garden" was designated Task Force Delta. The base was made up of Marines, Sailors (Medical and Construction staff), Air Force (mostly cargo handling), a six-man United States Army contingent from the 11th Signal Brigade (United States) (providing specialized communications security to the command from June to December 1972), and Thai military elements. The base was in existence until September 1973 when all the units returned to their home bases.
During its operational occupation by U.S. forces the base was used to fly air operations against targets in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Nam Phong also received refugee flights evacuating Hmong from Long Tieng, Laos in May 1975.
Nam Phong is today a Royal Thai Air Force bombing range. However, the World Aeronautical database states that the runway is still in use. There is not a quoted ICAO location indicator allocated for this field.
On the left arm is a fourth patch that reads VMFA 232 - RED DEVILS- MIG HUNTERS. (Migs are Russian fighter jets that were flown by the North Vietnamese).
The "G-1" military flight jacket is the commonly accepted name for the fur-lined-collar World War II-era flight jacket of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The G-1 remains a current uniform-issue item in naval aviation for officer and enlisted aviation personnel on flying status in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard (i.e., Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, Naval Flight Surgeon, Naval Aircrewman, etc.) and is arguably best known as the leather flight jacket as worn by Tom Cruise in the film Top Gun.
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