Offered here is an exceptionally rare U.S. manufactured A-2 flight jacket displaying Chinese Air Force insignia. The left chest has an embroidered Chinese Air Force pilot badge displaying gold wings and the Kuomintang star above the Roman numeral “XVII” in a shield. Based on the wings, this jacket belonged to a pilot in the Chinese Air Force 17th Pursuit Squadron which was equipped with U.S. made Boeing P-26 Peashooters, French made Dewoitine D.500s, and Russian made Polikarpov I-15s. Unfortunately, the name tag and the emblem on the right chest have been removed. Painted U.S. style 2nd Lieutenant bars on leather are sewn on the shoulder straps. The removal of insignia and the presence of American rank suggests the jacket originally belonged to a U.S. serviceman and later found its way into the hands of a Chinese airman. The stories it could tell! The size 42 jacket was made by Star Sportswear Manufacturing Co. (contract no. 42-18245-P) and features a Talon zipper. To help the struggling Chinese Air Force in its fight against the Japanese, the U.S. sent China some 1,400 aircraft through the Lend-Lease program and would again send at least that number of aircraft after officially entering the war. The USAAF also built a number of airfields in China and trained Chinese airmen. Despite these efforts, the Chinese Air Force never achieve operational efficiency. Nevertheless, China mounted a strong defense that slowed the advances of the vastly superior Japanese forces. Provenance: The Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection
Very good. The cuffs and waist band show minimal wear. The lining has scattered small tears. The leather is supple. A rarely encountered Chinese Air Force A-2 flight jacket missing from even the most advanced World War II aviation collections. Flight jackets sporting U.S. ally insignia are nearly impossible to find.
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