A-2 FLIGHT JACKET
343rd BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON, 98th BOMBARDMENT GROUP
During the Korean War, many WWII AAF veterans were recalled to combat duty to stem the Red invasion of the South. Many brought their beloved A-2s back to war while still others were reissued A-2s. Few wanted to be on the forsaken Peninsula, period, and the artwork of the USAF, USMC and USN insignia often reflects the dissatisfaction with the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here, the 343rd's "I Couldn't Care Less" bitterly cavalierish attitude towards war in Korea. Marine pilots, like the peerless Parciorelli G-1 in the Collection pages, sometimes wore a parody patch of the famed WWII 1st Marine Division insigne, with a middle finger superimposed on a map of Korea. In the Navy VF-884 was nicknamed "The Bitter Birds," for their general feelings at having hardly gotten settled after WWII before being recalled to fight the new menace. But they went, because they understood -- so different from the feminized cowards today in denial of the Islamic apocalyptic menace, as they are in denial of the complexity of life itself and the privilege of being Americans. Prostrate (or is it prostate?) before savages, faces to the ground. Backwards. And we have no one to blame but ourselves, for empowering the weak, subversive and damaged. Legitimizing the illegitimate. The legacy of Vietnam. And our lowest-common-denominator culture, which celebrates illiteracy, disillusionment and the gutter.
This wonderful piece belonged to an airman who flew B-29s in the 98th Bomb Group, a dangerous, thankless task in the face of massive North Korean and Chinese AAA, some radar-controlled, then the superb MIG 15, which threatened to wrest control of the sky from the UN until the arrival of the F86s and, at lower altitude, F94s to redress the balance.
Individual Japanese-made embroidered flags are sewn together to make a striking Blood Chit, useful for downed pilots who needed visual communication with sympathetic peasants as well as non English speaking UN military forces from places like Greece and Turkey.
This A-2 is what we call a "depot rebuild."
Resprayed Seal Brown, it was originally a rich Russet. Knit, Zipper and
Lining were also replaced or repaired. Amazing to think that so many A-2s
during and after WWII were so reconditioned when the cost of new ones would have been less in
labor spent. The AAF stencil on the lining suggests this example was likely rebuilt
either during WWII or prior to 1947, when USAF stamps appear on depot
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