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851st Bombardment Squadron,
490th Bombardment Group, 8 AF
 


Lady Be Good, 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group Original A-2 Horsehide Flight Jacket
 
M.L. Levye

M.L. Levye Lady Be Good, 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group Original A-2 Horsehide Flight Jacket 


 

Lady Be Good, 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group Original A-2 Horsehide Flight Jacket
 



 

M.L. Levye bombardier 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group Original A-2 Horsehide Flight Jacket
 

Lady Be Good, M.L. Levye, 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group Original A-2 Horsehide Flight Jacket

 



 


 


 


 


 


 


 
WARTIME DOCUMENTS/MEMORABILIA, PROPERTY OF M.A. LEVYE
(We are indebted to the 490th Bombardment Group Association/Historian for making some of these documents available to augment those provided to us by Serena Levye.)

This wonderful A-2 jacket was given to us by our dear friend Serena, the loving wife of the late Lt. M.A. Levye, bombardier in the 851st Bombardment Squadron, 490th Bombardment Group, 8th AF. Mr. Levye, to whom we once spoke but, sadly, never were privileged to meet, passed away several years ago and Serena presented us with his jacket to restore and display as a token of remembrance.

This A-2 was made by Perry Sportswear, with "collar stand construction" and typical Perry "Peter Pan" collar. The painting is a fantastic example of WWII pin-up art. "Lady Be Good." The symbolism of the weeping, gesticulating bomb, bedecked nattily in striped trousers and spats before a smiling, bare-breasted majorette is unclear beyond that he's asking her to be good, presumably. We can understand why! It is very sexy and professionally, gorgeously painted. To the left of the bomb are 29 painted bomb missions, atop which is a faded tiny B-17 that can only be viewed in close-up.The jacket had spent a lot of time by the ocean in their summer house and when Serena described it to us we feared the salt might've ravaged it -- very typical even during WWII due to inconsistent chrome tanning by various A-2 contractors. Yet once it arrived we were amazed and ebullient at how solid the paintwork was. Like Mr. Levye's B-17! Our "restoration" was absolutely minimal, consisting of careful conditioning of paint and leather to arrest further deterioration and that was all. Nothing added, nothing changed. The jacket responded like the champion it is and details obscured by pigments and oils dried over sixty years came happily back to life. Note how all rank and service data are painted directly onto the jacket.

Mr. Levye, a Rhode Island native, was an avid sportsman, equestrian owner and bon vivant.

That this matchless piece can now continue to educate and elucidate that age of heroism long past would, we think, be satisfying to its lamented, departed owner.

 

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