WWII 8th Air Force Named and Painted B-17 Bombardier’s A-2 Flight Jacket
The A2 jacket is a size 44, with an intact interior label identifying the jacket manufacturer as the Aero Leather Clothing Company of Beacon, New York. The jacket was worn by Wallace Robert Koseluk, who flew as a B-17 Flying Fortress Bombardier with the 560th Bomb Squadron, 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. The front left breast of the jacket has the nickname “Kos” painted on it above a rectangular spot where there was once a leather name tag sewn to the jacket. On the right side of the jacket is the large, silk screened leather patch of the 388th Bomb Group. Across the top of the back of the jacket is painted a music staff, a Treble Clef, a “4/4” time signature, a few musical notes, and the bomber name “La Dee Doo”. Below the musical motif and bomber name is the painted image of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. The jacket shows expected signs of wear and use. There is some scuffing of the leather; the knit cuffs were replaced during the period; there is typical wear to the collar area. The jacket makes an excellent appearance and exhibits tremendous character, with the leather being quite supple and the “Talon” zipper being fully functional. The interior lining has a few small holes and shows expected signs of wear, but it is complete. Accompanying the jacket is a piece of paper on which Koseluk’s name and unit information were written, together with a photocopy of a page from the unit’s veterans’ newsletter. This page has a photograph of the B-17 crew in which Koseluk flew as the bombardier. Additionally, the 388th Bomb Group has a large website with extensive information about the planes, missions, and crews of the group. Included in this listing is a photograph from that website of Koseluk’s crew, with Koseluk himself being the largest man of the four standing in the back row (and with that photograph being ample evidence of why Koseluk wore this very large size “44” A2 jacket). Overall the A-2 jacket is in very good condition and it constitutes a very fine example of one of the most famous pieces of military clothing in modern history: the painted flight jacket of one of the warriors of “The Mighty Eighth”.