A WWII USAAF 8th Air Force B-17 crew A-2 flight jacket with hand-painted pin-up on the back, belonging to W. L. Walker (413th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group). This attractive dark brown leather, issue jacket with russet-brown elastique hem and cuffs has a single, original Talon front zipper with collar snaps, and a hook and eye fastener at the throat. The jacket was made by Rough Wear Clothing Co. of Middletown, PA, and has an intact sewn-in label with small size 42 sub-label, and lists production under the W535 AC 27752 contract. The exterior leather is still supple, with minor wear and flaking along the edge seams, collar, and on the forearms and shoulders of the sleeves. The cuffs have almost no fraying, but there are a frayed areas and small holes in the hem. The original inventory label is still present in the left side pocket and lists serial #7312. The jacket is embellished with a heavily flaked, but still readily discernible pin-up image (very skillfully executed too), under an aircraft name: “Miss ’n You 2.” The USAAF emblem is flaked, but still quite clear on the left shoulder, and a large leather squadron patch is present on the left breast (the Black Cat and Bomb emblem of the 413th Bomber Squadron). A leather name strip is present just above the patch: “W.L. WALKER.” The interior lining of the jacket is intact, and a uniform russet-brown color with still visible Army Air Force stencil just below the label. The 96th Bomb Group attacked targets across occupied Europe from May 1943 to April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations: first for the bombing of an aircraft factory at Regensburg on August 17, 1943, under intense pressure from enemy fighters; second for leading the 45th Bomb Wing through difficult weather conditions and AA fire to drop their payload on aircraft components factories at Poznan on April 9, 1944. A splendid piece of World War II history, with a great pin-up painting from the peak of the artistic genre.
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