Prior to December 1941 as a volunteer fighter squadron fighting the Japanese in China, the American Volunteer Group was nicknamed the Flying Tigers. Absorbed into the Army Air Force on July 4th 1942, the 23rd Fighter Group was the official new name for the AVG, but kept their nom de guerre “The Flying Tigers”. This particular A-2 jacket is studded with history.
• 100% horsehide leather • Cotton poplin lining in russet • Left chest Flying Tigers patch • Left sleeve bullion China Burma patch • Right sleeve 14th Air Force bullion badge • Leather appliqué blood chit on the back • Two front flap snap pockets • Side entry pockets • Two interior pockets • Knit cuffs and waistband • This is a regular fit jacket • Available in brown • Proudly made in the USA.
The1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed theFlying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army (USAAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), recruited under Presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault.
The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, twelve days after Pearl Harbor. It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces, and achieved such notable success during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces as to give hope to America that it might eventually defeat the Japanese. AVG pilots earned official credit, and received combat bonuses, for destroying 296 enemy aircraft, while losing only fourteen pilots in combat.
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.