Flying Tigers 23rd Fighter Group

Flying Tigers A-2 Flight Jacket
Flying Tigers A-2 Flight Jacket
Flying Tigers A-2 Flight Jacket
Flying Tigers A-2 Flight Jacket
$790.00 - $840.00
SKU: Z21V60
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Established during WWII and nicknamed the ‘Flying Tigers’, the 23rd Fighter Group are the figures behind this authentic replica A-2 jacket. A relic of American bravery in WWII, the 23rd Fighter Group jacket is perfected in its authenticity down to the officer I.D. card in the lining. Decorated with an original Flying Tiger 23rd Fighter group emblem on the front, an antique silver thread bullion China Burma India patch on the left sleeve, the Flying Tigers 14th Air Force bullion badge on the right shoulder sleeve and featuring an authentic China Burma India Leather appliqué blood chit on the back, this particular A-2 jacket is studded with history. Crafted from 100% American horsehide to vintage military sizing specification, the cut is snug therefore a larger size is recommended for a looser fit. Proudly made in the USA.

 

 

The Type A-2 flying jacket was officially standardized by the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1927, as the successor to the Type A-1 flying jacket. The military specification number for Type A-2 is 94-3040, Drawing Number 31-1415, but spec. labels found in the jackets themselves show this to be 30-1415.

The A-2 was traditionally awarded to an Army Air Forces officer upon completion of basic flight training, and always before graduating to advanced training. The informal standard system of distribution was airmen lining up in front of boxes containing jackets of various sizes and handed out by the base Quartermaster.

The flight jacket became a treasured item to all airmen, and was worn with as much pride as their wings. During their service, crews often added and removed squadron patches, rank marks, mission markings and occasionally painted artwork depicting the type of aircraft they flew, or the Nose Art painted on their aircraft.

Many crew members ingeniously sewed a map of the mission area right into their jacket lining, which in the event of being shot down, the airmen could utilize their jacket for navigation out of enemy territory.  Another wartime tradition surfaced where in certain ETO units and possibly elsewhere, a fighter pilot who has reached the raking of “Ace” had the prerogative replacing the cotton A-2 lining, with red satin lining which could be added on confirmation of their fifth aerial kill.

Prior to World War II, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, foreign volunteer pilots of famed Flying Tigers Squadron sewed "Blood Chits" into the lining, or on the back of thier A-2 jackets.  The markings printed in Chinese, informed the locals that this foreign pilot was fighting for China and did not pose a threat to the person that found the downed airman.   A text from one such blood chit translates as follows:

 

"I am an American airman. My plane is destroyed. I cannot speak your language. I am an enemy of the Japanese. Please give me food and take me to the nearest Allied military post.

You will be rewarded."

 

 

 

Blood Chits, are otherwise known as escape or identification flags (人物證明書); and "Chit" is a British English term for a small document, note or pass; is an Anglo-Indian word dating from the late 18th century, derived from the Hindi citthi.

 

The idea of a blood chit originates from 1793 when French balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard demonstrated his hot air balloon in the USA. Due to the fact that he could not control the direction of the balloon, it was not known where he might land. Because Blanchard did not speak english, George Washington gave him a letter that said that all US citizens were obliged to assist him in returning to Philidelphia.