Vtg WW2 US Army A-2 Leather Flight Jacket UNUSUAL HISTORY 5th AF 312nd BG For Sale
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Vtg WW2 US Army A-2 Leather Flight Jacket UNUSUAL HISTORY 5th AF 312nd BG:
Up for you consideration is an original US Army A-2 flight jacket grouping from WW2. The history on this piece is quite interesting. With a lot of flight jackets you have to decipher where it's been from the patches and pins, but with this one I'm able to provide some great information on a historic event that the owner was a part of. This jacket belonged to William (Bill) Shubkagel, the gunner in an A-20 light bomber. He served in the Pacific with the 5th Army Air Force, as a member of the 312th Bomb Group, 387th Squadron. Included in this grouping is a copy of a 2-part article profiling his service, as well as a copy of a firsthand account written by Bill. In particular, the part that collectors will find interesting is his link to a famous photo sequence from WW2, commonly known as "Death of an A-20." This series of photos captures the graphic demise of an A-20 from Bill's squadron as it was shot down during a mission. The photos were shot from another plane and were published in many places, including Time magazine, Yank magazine, and numerous websites and books (one of the photos is even on the cover of the autobiographical book "Wreaking Havoc", a book about the author's time flying an A-20 in WW2.) The photos are pretty well-known and are easy to find online; one source is . When you look at the photos, you'll note that in several of them, there is another A-20 flying alongside the plane that was shot down; this was Bill's plane. I'm sure some of you are skeptical to this claim, so I'll let him speak for himself; here's an excerpt from his account, a copy of which will be included ( The family has chosen to donate the original to the VFW.) This following paragraph accompanies one of the famous photos:"We hit this target flying from Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea to Kokas on July 22nd July, 1944. Target was a sea plane base located on the Vogelkop (Birds Head) New Guinea. A-20 crashing was piloted by 1st/Lt. Knarr, gunner was S/Sgt Chas Reilly. Surviving plane piloted by 2nd L/t Kapson, gunner S/Sgt Wm. H. Shubkagel. My first mission was flown with Lt. Knarr and I flew with Lt. Kapson on his first mission. We had some debris on the vertical tail plane but turned out to be Lt. Kapson's handkerchief. The powers that be decided we should be sent on R and R after this so got on leave to Sydney after having been on leave only 3 weeks. Money pretty It's a brief and fairly unsentimental description, but that's what you would expect from someone who had to be prepared for such a loss at any time. In later years, Bill was known as man who could provide great consolation and understanding to returning vets of later wars; few could understand what they had been through, and they tell me that he provided invaluable counseling to many. Bill flew 46 missions during the war, and was sent back home following a serious eye infection. His WW2 experiences were profiled in a November 1991 newspaper article, which is a great read. The author of the article makes this note: "When this copy was ready to leave the typewriter Bill came by with a photograph album with pictures of his plane in a bombing mission and a plane alongside being shot down."
A little information on the jacket: It's a genuine WW2 A-2; the newspaper article has a photo of him wearing in the 1940s. It's in great shape overall. The leather is still supple and hasn't dried out. Most problems is has are superficial. The cotton lining has rips under the armpit and around the neck. The zipper was replaced at some point; it's a spring-loaded Crown zipper. The ribbing at either the cuffs or waist is damaged, but I've seen a lot worse. The ribbing on the waist or cuffs may have been replaced at some point; their colors do not match. The cuffs are olive green and the waist is brown. The leather itself, while still supple, has a slightly "tacky" feel and would probably require a good cleaning. There is normal wear and dinginess around the collar as well, and a handful of light spots on the back; they could be small paint splatters. The jacket is a size 36, and was made by Rough Wear. I didn't find anything indicating what type of leather it's made of. There are three patches on the front. One is a leather name patch that says "W. H. Shubkagel". Another one is a cloth patch for the US Army 5th Air Force. The last one is his 387th squadron patch, showing a parrot smoking a cigar and holding a bomb. This patch is cloth as well. Both patches are a little dingy and show wear but look great. Besides the jacket, I've included many interesting items. As I've mentioned, there is a copy of the newspaper article profiling his service, as well as copy of an personal account detailing his involvement in the A-20 photos. There's also a book entitled "The 5th Over The Southwest Pacific" that includes several photos from the "Death of an A-20" photo sequence; it looks like something that was given to veterans. It was published by the AAF Publication Co. Also included is a leather US Army holster made by Enger-Kress; not sure if he used it during the war or picked it up later. There are numerous patches that look like they were taken off of shirts; some are 5th Air Force, some are just Air Force. There is also a folding machete that he was said to have purchased in Australia while in leave; it is stamped "Made in England" and has the arrowhead stamp and a date of 1945. It's rusty but I've seen a lot worse. These were carried by flight crew in the event that they were shot down over the jungle. There is also a box with assorted pins and such, and some letters of recommendation. I've also included several post-war photos of Bill with his family, and a copy of a wartime photo of him with a machine gun. If requested, I can include a wool uniform jacket that was his as well, at no charge; it doesn't have any patches and has some moth damage. Measurements:
Armpit to armpit: 19" (Doubled, =38")
Shoulder to shoulder: 17" (Doubled, =34")
Shoulder to end of cuff: 23 1/2"
Waist (measured from the bottom of the leather portion): 17 1/2"
Top of the neck on the back to the waist (not including ribbing): If you have any question, feel free to ask; I may have to consult with the family for tougher questions, so please be patient. We will not be taking buy it now offers or ending the sale early. We will ship by Priority Mail domestically, unless requested otherwise. We'll also require signature confirmation. I will ONLY be using USPS's Express Mail service for international shipping; this is for your protection and mine. After the sale ends we will send you an invoice with shipping costs; we only charge actual cost with no handling charges. Sorry, but if you have low response, we will not sell this jacket to you; if you win, your offer will be cancelled. No shipping to Italy on this one; normally it's ok but we have lost packages there and I'm not risking it on this one. Last-minute questions may not be answered.