Offered here is an incredibly historic and rare World War II USAAF A-2 flight jacket worn by B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter pilot Friend Frank Wilson. Wilson was originally assigned to the 333rd Bomb Squadron and completed 26 missions as a B-17 bomber pilot. He later volunteered to fly a P-51 fighter for the 3rd Scouting Force. The Scouting Forces, a little known arm of the strategic bombing force, was intended to help the bombers form formation over England, lead the bomber formation to the target through bad weather, assist in keeping the bombers in tight formation to the target, and protecting the bombers from enemy fighters, including intercepting the Luftwaffe in advance. The 8th Air Force Scouting Forces were comprised of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and the ranks were filled with former bomber pilots due to their experience with bombing missions. Although the experimental scouting forces existed only for 6 months, they proved very successful. Finding an A-2 jacket for the 8th Air Force scouting forces is nearly impossible, and the fact that Wilson few a B-17 and P-51 definitely takes this A-2 to another level. This jacket certainly is in a collecting category by itself! The right front of the jacket carries a mission scoreboard of 26 yellow bombs, which represent the 26 missions Wilson completed as a B-17 pilot with the 333rd BS. The left front of the jacket has Wilson’s leather name tag above the painted 333rd BS insignia. The back of the jacket has a fantastic, high quality, professionally painted artwork depicting Wilson’s B-17 and P-51 “Miss Vera” with guns blazing. The jacket is a size 36 and was manufactured by Aero Leather, and has a Kwik zipper. This jacket was once part of the Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California, collection. Provenance: Palm Springs Air Museum; Property of a Gentleman
Fine, displaying wear consistent with an A-2 jacket that saw actual combat in the cockpit of a B-17 and P-51. There is a minor tear on the right sleeve, and the cuffs and waist band have some scattered wear. The mission scoreboard retains most of the vivid yellow paint. Most of the 333rd painted insignia remains. The B-17 and P-51 artwork on the back retains most of the colors and is a striking piece of wartime art. A highly attractive, incredibly rare and historic identified 8th Air Force scouting force A-2 flight jacket that will be a standout piece to any World War II or aviation collection. This is a must have for the serious A-2 collector!
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