VERY NICE IDENTIFIED WORLD WAR TWO LEATHER FLIGHT JACKET GROUP

$2,995.00
Originally $3,600.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 979-05

This A-2 flight jacket, book and photographs are identified to Lt. John J. Zupancic who was a pilot in a Troop Carrier Squadron in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War 2.

This Government Issue jacket is in good used condition. The exterior leather shows light surface wear from age, use and storage. Wear is heavier on the collar and shoulder areas. All exterior seams are tight. Zipper is “CONMAR” marked and still retains its leather pull. Front pockets have snaps, as do collar points. Hook and eye fastener is still present at throat. Knit waist band and cuffs are original but show moderate wear in the form of numerous small snags.

Left chest has white leather name strip which is common on jackets from the CBI Theater. Strip is stamped with the name “J. J. ZUPANCIC.” Below this is a heavily worn Troop Carrier Command leather patch that shows an eagle in flight carrying an armed soldier in its talons. About 30%-40% of the paint remains. Left should has the China-Burma-India patch made of multi-piece colored leather. Patch shows wear consistent with age. The thread anchoring the bottom edge of the patch to the jacket has separated but the patch is holding just fine.

Right shoulder has a winged star Army Air Force (AAF) patch also made of multi-piece colored leather. Patch shows wear consistent with age. There is some small damage to the background surface in the upper right corner of the patch. The right chest has a wonderful 14th Air Force “Flying Tiger” patch also made of multi-piece colored leather. This patch shows light surface dirt to match the other patches but not as much wear.

Back of the jacket is blank.

Interior lining is original. Neck has a hole in the lining from wear and sweat just above the maker’s tag. Affected area meas. approx. 8.00 inches across x 2.00 inches wide at the most. Maker’s tag shows that the jacket was made by Sperry Sports Wear Inc. of Newburgh, New York. Bottom of tag is marked “AIR FORCE, U.S. ARMY” and shows the jacket is a size 38 regular.

What really makes this jacket special are the modifications done to the inside liner. In the center of the back Lt. Zupancic sewed in a piece of printed cloth known as a “Blood Chit.” These have an American flag at the top. Below it in five different languages is text that in most cases reads “Dear friend, I am an Allied fighter. I did not come here to do any harm to you who are my friends. I only want to do harm to the Japanese and chase them away from this country as quickly as possible. If you will assist me, my government will sufficiently reward you when the Japanese are driven away.” These chits were numbered and this one bears number “23056.”

In the left side of the lining there is another chit but this one bears the Chinese flag with the wording below in Chinese characters only. It reads "This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him.” This chit is also numbered with “W 70337.”

Sewn inside the right side of the jacket is an American flag made of multi-piece colored leather. The top edge has been left unsewn so it could be used as a pocket. The rest of the liner is in very good condition and shows light signs of having been worn.

With the jacket is Lt. Zupancic’s class book for his graduation from pilot’s training. Volume has a white padded cover with the title “BASE LEG – MAJORS ARMY AIR FIELD” in blue with silver aircraft and a yellow and silver winged prop. At bottom in raised letters is “GREENVILLE, TEXAS” and his class number “43-K.” Volume is approx. 60 pages and shows photos of daily life at the school as well as pictures of all the instructors and cadets. The book is signed by the Commandant of Cadets as well several instructors. Nine of the Cadets also signed.

Lastly the group has three photographs. One is a photo postcard showing “Ten acres of Cadets.” The back of the card has a short message from Zupancic. Next is a 3.25 x 4.75 inch snapshot of Zupancic in the cockpit of an aircraft with headphones on and a large cigar in his mouth. Lastly is a wartime formal portrait in uniform with Zupancic wearing his wings and crush cap. Photo is housed in a period folding frame. Image was taken in Liberal, Kansas.

John J. Zupancic was born in Euclid, Ohio in 1921 and died there on October 16, 1998. Which Squadron or Group he flew with is not known at this time. Since his jacket bears a Troop Carrier Squadron patch he most likely flew C-47 aircraft taking troops and supplies “over the hump,” which is what CBI pilots called the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains between India and China.

This is a wonderful personalized A-2 jacket from a pilot that helped take the fight to the Japanese.  [AD]

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