This is a fine example and highly sought after World War II A-2 flight jacket worn by a member of the famed 34th “Thunderbirds” Bombardment Squadron. In April 1942, aircrews from the 34th BS flew B-25 Mitchell bombers from the U.S.S. Hornet in the famous Doolittle Tokyo Raid. This was the first air operation against the Japanese homeland, and it was named after Lt. Col. James Doolittle who planned and led the raid. The audacious raid consisted of 16 B-25s launching off an aircraft carrier and flying without fighter escorts to strike the Japanese capital Tokyo. The raid caused minor damage but provided a vital boost in morale in a country looking to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor. The 34th BS was subsequently deployed to the Mediterranean Theater and operated B-26 Marauder bombers from bases in North Africa, Sardinia, Corsica and France. The “Thunderbirds” participated in Operation Torch, the Tunisian Campaign and the invasion of Sicily and Italy by flying tactical bombing operations. The squadron supported American ground forces moving through Southern France who eventually joined forces with those in northern France and eventually participated in the invasion of Germany. This flight jacket features the Thunderbird insignia of the 34th BS painted on a five inch circular leather patch sewn on the left breast. The right side of the jacket has a painted mission scoreboard of forty-one yellow bombs. The back of the jacket is decorated with a professionally painted, multi-colored image of a B-26 bomber against a circular background of clouds. The owner's name "I.G. WOLFE" is painted on the left front of the jacket above the squadron insignia. The jacket retains the original brown cotton lining, "TALON" zipper and brown wool cuffs and waist band. The data label is absent. The jacket has the high-quality, professionally executed artwork and detailed painted leather patches that are typical of 15th Air Force flight jackets decorated in the Mediterranean Theater. Provenance: The Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection; Property of a Gentleman
Very good displaying wear and staining associated with a garment that saw actual combat. The 34th BS Thunderbird Insignia retains bright colors with minimal flaking. The B-26 painting retains most of the original colors. The mission scoreboard shows heavy wear, and only the outline of the bombs remains. The owner's name is legible. The cuffs and waist band show typical tears and insect holes. An attractive and completely original A-2 flight jacket from a famous squadron that definitely saw combat.
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