One More Thing

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page -

What they wore

is­sued to U.S. Army Air Forces per­son­nel upon com­ple­tion of ba­sic flight train­ing wasn’t nearly enough pro­tec­tion from the cold in an un­pres­sur­ized bomber at 20,000 feet, but it was still a trea­sured sym­bol of ac­com­plish­ment and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. It also just looked good.

Adopted in 1931, the horse­hide jack­ets were so cov­eted that many ser­vice­men, in­clud­ing air­men who were is­sued ny­lon jack­ets after 1943, bought leather A-2s of their own.

This one be­longed to Tech­ni­cal Sergeant Mcdon­ald Dar­nell Jr., a ra­dioman aboard the B-26 Ma­rauder Flak-bait who flew 65 mis­sions be­tween D-day and April 1945. A-2s were of­ten in­di­vid­u­al­ized with in­signia, patches, and even painted art­work.

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