This World War II B-10 flight jacket was worn by glider pilot Tommie Zannes of the 1st Glider Provisional Group 4th Section. 1st Glider Provisional Group 4th Section was assigned to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing and arrived in New Guinea in November 1944. Most of the wing operations occurred in the Philippines and eventually served as part of the occupation forces of Japan. Zannes participated in the glider operations. Glider operations in the Pacific were relatively small compared to their counterparts in Europe, making this B-10 a rarity. In the Pacific, gliders were used to land men and supplies to establish airfields in remote areas, and towards the end of the war a glider air assault occurred at a Japanese held airfield on Luzon Island. The jacket features glider pilot wings, Zannes’ name tag and 5th Air Force insignia, all painted on the left front. The right sleeve has faded USAAF insignia. The back of the jacket features a wonderful, high quality, professionally painted artwork of the 4th Section, cigar smoking Bugs Bunny wearing a crush type cap. The jacket is a size 36, was manufactured by Stagg Coat Co., and has a broken Conmar zipper. After the war Tommie Zannes (1922-1962) earned his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami and eventually became a top official in the U.S. missile program. Zannes was the operational projects manager for Convair at Vandenberg Air Force Base where the Strategic Air Command operated several Atlas intercontinental ballistic missiles. Zannes guided Convair’s ICBM program that created the Atlas, the first operational ICBM developed by the U.S. There were setbacks as the missile had three consecutive test fails but on July 28, 1959 the fourth test proved successful. Zane was the man who pushed the launch button, making him the first man to successfully launch an American ICBM. The Atlas program evolved into a series of rocket space boosters and played an important contribution to the space race that ended with America on the Moon. Unfortunately, Zannes would not live to see the first steps on the Moon as he died of lung cancer in 1962. Includes consignor research pertaining to Zannes.
Very good displaying typical wear and stains for a jacket worn in a combat zone. The cuffs and waist band show heavier wear. The zipper is broken. The insignias on the front of the jacket retain much of the paint with the name tag faded. The Bugs Bunny artwork on the back retains much of the vivid colors. A great work of personalized wartime artwork worn by the man who became the first to successfully launch an American ICBM.
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