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A Beginner’s Guide to US Military Leather Flight Jackets.

This document was originally an eBay Guide I wrote about twenty years ago. Earlier this year eBay decided to discontinue guides so I expanded it and am happy to offer it to this venue as a service to its members and visitors.

This is a BRIEF beginner’s guide to the two most popular and commonly found US military leather flight jackets, the “Jacket, Flying, Type A-2," commonly referred to as the “A-2” and the US Navy “Jacket, Flyer’s, Intermediate, Type G-1” or simply the “G-1”. These military issue flight garments are often referred to by the uninformed as “bomber jackets” but this is inaccurate. This designation is probably more accurate when referring to the shearling lined “Type B-3” (and derivatives) but is outside the scope of this discussion.
The A-2 was worn originally flight crews in the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) , the US Army Air Force (USAAF) and later the US Air Force (USAF). The G-1 was worn by flight crew in the US Navy (USN), the US Marine Corps (USMC) and the US Coast Guard (USCG). Although some non- flying personnel were able to purchase one of these coveted jackets or by obtain one through “social engineering” methods they could wear them off duty. However they were not officially issued to these ranks and consequently they were not able to wear them on duty.

A-2s were originally made of horsehide but later they were made of goatskin and cowhide. G-1s made prior to the 1980s are goatskin but those made after can be either goatskin or cowhide, likely as a cost-saving measure. Goatskin is pretty much the leather of choice for jackets because it resists abrasions the best. Horsehide is also a good choice because it is very durable.

The A-2 was issued to air crew from 1931 to 1943 after which they were only issued as “replacements” for those who had previously been issued one. The last wartime contracts were let in December 1943. Newcomers were issued cloth flight gear. Forty five years later, in 1988, the USAF began issuing the A-2 to flight crew once again.

The G-1 (and its predecessors) has been pretty much continuously issued since the 1940s to US Navy, USMC and USCG officers and enlisted personnel on active flight status with the exception of a very brief period from 1979 to early 1981.

An excellent overview discussion of flight jackets may be found on Wikipedia.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_jacket

Detailed treatise on the A-2 on Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-2_jacket

and the G-1.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-1_military_flight_jacket

Here is some general information and opinion I wrote in another thread on the G-1.

This is probably going to sound like heresy but, as a jacket for daily wear, I am not a great fan of the MILSpec USAAC/USAAF/USAF A-2. Personally I prefer the US Navy G-1 “Jacket, Flyer’s, Intermediate Type G-1” flight jacket to the A-2 jacket which is far more iconic and better known but in my opinion not as good as the G-1. The difference in appearance is obvious; the G-1 has a mouton collar where the A-2 collar is leather. They also do not have an inside pocket.

The main advantage of the G-1 in my opinion is the pleated “bi-swing” back that offers far more freedom of arm movement than the A-2. There is also an inside pocket. In fact I always wondered why the A-2 didn’t offer this feature. I find when wearing my military issue A-2 I definitely notice that my arm movement is restricted by the jacket.

There were a number of contractors who made them, including Star Sportswear, Brill Brothers, Imperial, Orchard M/C Distributors, etc. I have always liked the Star Sportswear made jackets the best; I think their leather is a bit better than the rest. I also prefer earlier production, 1966-1973 the best. This is, of course, my opinion and open to argument.

The date is usually shown as two digits in the contract or spec number. Labels are either woven which indicate earlier production or printed which indicate post 1972 production.
DSA100-71-C-0535 = 1971

Go for one with the woven label over the printed label and you will be very happy. Be prepared to replace the knit cuffs and waistbands as you would with any vintage jacket that has them.

The best online resource for information on these and other flight jackets is www.vintageleatherjackets.org/. This is a “forum” which predates the “blog” format but is essentially a peer-to-peer information exchange web site.

These jackets are plentiful and relatively easy to find on eBay. However good original military jackets are not. There are many reproductions, “knockoffs” and military “style” jackets that are not authentic government issue items so you have to know what you are doing. The advantage to eBay and PayPal is that you have recourse if the item is not accurately described and want to return it once you have a chance to examine it. There is also a BUY/SELL message board on vintageleatherjackets.org.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: There are hundreds if not thousands of A-2 “style” or “reproductions” that range from the highest quality jackets costing well in excess of $1,000.00 to the worst junk offshore-made garments imaginable. Some airlines and law enforcement agencies also use an A-2 style jacket and these are often of the highest quality. However, detailed discussion of these is not part of this treatise.
Copyright 2018 all rights reserved. Free distribution in its entirety is allowed.

My email is w1rc@near-fest.com. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
 
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Other Great Forums...... / Uboat.net
« Last post by W1RC on November 04, 2018, 08:04:26 AM »
www.uboat.net

Great historical site about German KRIEGSMARINE submarine activity in both WW-II and WW-I.
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James J "Whitey" Bulger / October 30th 2018. Whitey Dead in Prison. The Final Chapter.
« Last post by W1RC on October 31, 2018, 11:09:07 AM »
This was not your ordinary murderer serving a couple of life sentences.....this was Whitey Bulger.   If you are not from Boston you probably will not understand.  Whitey was one tough cookie back in the day, as mean and vicious a hoodlum as there ever was, but in 2018 he was 89; a tired, sick, old man with a bad heart in a wheelchair, a shadow of his former self and he knew it.

They kept Whitey in a protective environment in several maximum security prisons since he was arrested in 2011 because authorities knew full well what would happen if he were in general population.  He was an informer and an abuser of women - he killed two with his bare hands.  In the prison culture that is about as low as you can be, along with sex offenders and child molesters.  They were supposed to be transferring him to a medical facility so how did he end in a maximum security place like USP Hazleton?  This prison was well known to be seriously understaffed and there were already two murders there this year; this was number three.

They said Whitey asked to be put in general population.  I wonder about that too.  Whitey spent fifteen years of his life inside some pretty tough joints, including Alcatraz, and certainly knew what would happen to him in population.   And it did, the very first night he was there. 

The guy who allegedly cancelled Whitey’s ticket, Fotios, “Freddie” Geas, was a hitman from Springfield Massachusetts doing life for his involvement in killing a mob boss.  Freddie hated informers; he and his brother were convicted on one’s testimony. Some time between 6:00AM and 8:00AM Geas and two of his accomplices wheeled Whitey in his wheelchair to a spot where the security cameras couldn’t see and they beat him to death with a padlock wrapped in a sock.  They beat him so hard that it is said they dislodged his eyeballs.  The guards found him at 8:20 in his cell wrapped in a blanket bleeding profusely.  One report said he was “unrecognizable”.  They called the emergency responders but it was too late; Whitey was dead.

https://youtu.be/lvU8PHfTeEs

Now in the prison culture Freddie Geas will be known as the guy who capped Whitey and will rule any prison he is in for the rest of his life.

Whitey Bulger was a fugitive at large for sixteen years living the good life in Santa Monica California while everyone was looking all over the world for him.  When they finally caught him he was in the limelight for over two years.  His trial courtroom was packed.  I am sure Whitey loved every minute of it.  In 2013 when he was sentenced to two life terms at age 84 he just laughed because everyone knew Whitey really had gotten away with it.

Whitey’s attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., stated that Bulger had been sentenced to life in prison, but "as a result of the decisions made by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that sentence has been changed to the death penalty."  Was he “executed” as attorney Carney suggests or perhaps the old fox was committing suicide by requesting he be put in general population?  Either way Whitey Bulger died as he lived....violently.  It is the final chapter in the Whitey Bulger saga.  He beat the system again.

However there are questions that need to be answered about Whitey’s demise.  Who at the Bureau of Prisons decided to put him in a seriously understaffed maximum security prison that already had two murders this year in a general population cellblock with a couple of  mob hitmen from Massachusetts doing life sentences with a pathological hatred for informers when he should have been in the protective environment of a hospital environment for elderly and ailing inmates which is essentially what Whitey was.  Was he just such a pain in the ass that they wanted to get rid of him?  It soesn’t matter how horrible someone’s crimes were when they put them in prison the authoritieshave an obligation to keep them safe.  The BoP failed miserably on this.

You can’t make this shit up!  The Whitey we knew would have loved it.

Postscript:  There have been at least eighteen books written about Whitey Bulger, more than about any other criminal in history with the possible exception of Al Capone and John Dillinger.  In my opinion the best are:

1:  MOST WANTED: Whitey Bulger by Thomas Foley (retired Superintendent, Mass State Police)

2:  WHITEY BULGER by Kevin Cullen and Sheila Murphy (BOSTON GLOBE reporters)

3:  BLACK MASS by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill

4:  BRUTAL: THE UNTOLD STORY by Kevin Weeks and Phylis Karas
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NEAR-Fest XXIV October 12 and 13 2018 / Re: Ham Jammers
« Last post by DrOptigan on October 17, 2018, 03:03:51 AM »
Wow, what a jam! Thanks to everybody who was there or tried to make it, as always. Hope my keyboard playing and singing didn't annoy people too much. ;) Had a great time at the show in spite of the weather. Can't wait for the next one!  :)

As for the practice idea, that might not be a bad idea. Bry tried holding practice sessions in his garage a few times, but few attended. Hopefully, we can figure something out.
-Adam
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NEAR-Fest XXIV October 12 and 13 2018 / Re: Ham Jammers
« Last post by n1bus on October 15, 2018, 01:36:27 PM »
I'm sorry. I'm sorry if at any time I had a sour face. It wasn't because of anyone there. I had a tooth break a few days before the fest and had it filled and it still gives me some trouble. I know someone took pictures and they seemed irritated at my sour face but I assure you it wasn't aimed at you.
   It was a good jam session and it really picked up when more people came to jam.  I will make it a goal to learn some songs and get more practice in. Even if its only a few minutes a day. I can't believe i forgot the words to ghost riders in the sky. Perhaps we could put out a list of 5 songs to practice a few months before the next fest.
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NEAR-Fest XXIV October 12 and 13 2018 / Re: Ham Jammers
« Last post by Whoz Your Daddy on October 14, 2018, 07:14:55 PM »
Thanks Everyone!
The Jam went great....
Weather could have been a bit nicer saturday....
Still, It was a fun Nearfest!
Have a safe winter. See you in the Spring!

Rick
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NEAR-Fest XXIV October 12 and 13 2018 / Re: Ham Jammers
« Last post by Whoz Your Daddy on October 11, 2018, 08:39:24 PM »
Ok, HamJammers....

I have a PA packed. It's enough for the Electronic drum kit and a couple microphones. I've got two boom stands & mics.
And of coarse the Drum kit.

Bring a small amp for your Keyboard setups guys!

ok, see you all soon!

Rick
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NEAR-Fest XXIV October 12 and 13 2018 / Re: Ham Jammers
« Last post by n1bus on October 11, 2018, 12:44:06 PM »
I plan to be there and will bring an extra mike stand and 2 extra microphones. I should also have some extra cables.
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CAMPING/TENTING PERMITS.

All campers and tenters MUST prominently display a valid Camping Permit on their trailer door or entrance to their tent so it can be readily seen by our Staff member who accompanies the Fair Association Representative when he makes his count. 

The DFA Representative does not look to see if the camper/tenter has paid.  He is merely counting trailers and tents so as determine how much we owe which we pay without discussion or comment.  Our staff member is the one who needs to see the permit.  If he does not see one he will attempt to contact the persons who are camping to collect the appropriate fee.   If no one is there the fee is not collected but we pay regardless.

At NEAR-Fest XXII a couple of wiseguys at two club sites told our Staff member that their club passes included the camping fee.  These people out-and-out lied to him, trying to pull one over on the new guy.  It backfired; they got caught by me.  These clubs have had their club passes revoked and as a result the entire club pass early entry program is currently under review.

Over the years NEAR-Fest has paid more money to the Fair Association than we have collected from those who have chosen to camp or tent overnight.  This has amounted to a couple hundred dollars per event which means in the past ten years NEAR-Fest has lost THOUSANDS of dollars because some people didn’t bother to pay for their camping. 

This is going to end starting with NEAR-Fest XXIII.

Each camper/tenter will be responsible for buying the appropriate pass before 5PM each night and displaying it where we can easily see it on the trailer door or entrance way to the tent.  People sleeping in vehicles will be responsible for the $15.00 tenting fee if they plug in to the fairgrounds electrical system, even if it is to charge a phone or tablet.  In this case the permit must be displayed on the driver’s side of the windshield.  We will check all vehicles at random times overnight.

Here is what may happen if the appropriate permit is not prominently displayed:

1:  You risk the very real possibility of being awakened at inconvenient times and asked to pay up now.

2:  If #1 does not result in immediate payment your license plate numbers will be recorded.  You will receive an invoice for the appropriate amount plus a $10 service fee.  You must pay this invoice at the Office trailer before leaving.  Failure to do so will result in your vehicle and trailer being banned from the grounds until you have settled your account.  PS: We know who you are!

3:  Failure to pay is considered as “theft of service”.  Please don’t make us go there.

I am forthwith making all campers and tenters responsible for each other.  This means if you see someone camping or renting without the permit prominently displayed you will advise that individual they need to get one right away.

If the above measures do not work I will consider adding a $5.00 surcharge to each permit to cover the shortage.  So it will be in the best interests of all campers to make sure that everybody pays their fair share.

NEAR-Fest will no longer pay for those who do not.

Finally I have been very displeased on hearing reports of disrespect been shown by a small number of attendees to our Staff member and friend from the Fair Association.  This last time some of us heard the term “camping Nazis” used on several occasions.  I assure you there are no “Nazis” at Deerfield.  We find this term highly offensive and hope that we will not hear it ever again.

Note to Staff:  Maybe we need to check all campers as they are coming in for their Friday night permits.
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