A-2 Leather Jacket

By: Ron Winsor

Have you ever wondered when the A-2 Jacket came into existence? What was the primary purpose of the A-2 Flight Jacket? Are there other names for the leather jacket? There have been many questions concerning the A-2 Jacket, these are just a few. Our purpose in writing this article is to answer these questions and maybe give you a little more information on this historic leather jacket.

History:

The A-2 Flying Jacket was the replacement for the A-1 Jacket that was adopted in 1927. The A-2 Jacket became the standard issue by the US Army Air Corps in May of 1931. This jacket is a classic and is sometimes referred to as a "Bomber" jacket even though its use wasn't limited to pilots or bomber crews. The original jacket material was referred to as "seal brown horsehide leather with knitted wristlets and waistband"The A-2 Jacket was available in even sizes from 32 through 54.

Design:

The original design of the A-2 flight jacket might vary from different manufactures but they all had the same basic characteristics. The snap-flap patch pockets on either side were not equiped with hand warmer compartments, because this was considered unmilitary to put your hands in your pockets. The jacket also had a shirt style snap down collar, epaulets with knit cuffs and waistband. The back was a single piece of leather so as to not put excess stress on the jacket. The lining was usually made of a lightweight silk or cotton with the military tag sewn just below the back collar.

Most of the A-2 leather jackets made before the war and during wartime were made of horsehide although there were some constructed of goatskin as was the Navy's G-1 jacket. There could have also been some jackets made from cowhide or steerhide. Most of these hides were either chrome tanned and or vegetable tanned.

The color of the A-2 jackets varied but there were two distinguishing colors. Seal which is dark brown or almost black and Russet which is a pale red-brown to medium brown.

Some of the suppliers for zippers that we know about are Talow, Crown, Cowmar and Kwik. The zippers for the A-2 were made of steel or brass with some being nickel plated.

The A-2 Flight Jacket was designed in a way to have a more tailored fit. This was to accommodate the slim more slight built men of the day and lets face it, it looked cool too. This leather jacket was not designed to fit over layers of clothes.

Jacket Manufactures:

There were several different companies that manufactured the A-2 Jacket.A couple of the Civilian Producers are David D Doniger & Co., which manufactures the MacGregor line of outerwear and the J.A. Dubow Mfg., Co. which produces base-ball mitts. The following Companies also had Contracts for making the A-2 Jacket during the war.

Aero Leather Clothing Co., Inc.
Bronco Mfg. Co.
Cable Raincoat Co.
Cooper Sportswear Mfg. Co.
David D. Doniger & Co.
J.A. Dubow Mfg. Co.
Monarch Mfg. Co.
Perry Sportswear, Inc.
Poughkepsie Leather Coat Co., Inc.
Rough Wear Clothing Co.
Spiewak & Sons
Star Sportswear
United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
Werber Sportswear

Wartime:

During the War an Army Air Force airman would receive an A-2 jacket when he completed his basic flight training. The airman would always receive his jacket before he would start his advanced training. There was no ceremony or standard way in which the airman would receive his jacket, just that they would line up in front of boxes containing different size jackets and were given the appropriate size. Each airman was issued only one jacket unlike other military articles of clothing.

There were some A-2 Jackets made in England during World War 2. These jackets were made for our Gi's and included a lot of our Airborne infantry troops that would otherwise not be able to get one. In mid-1943 the Army stopped buying the A-2 Jackets.

Summary:

What it all boils down to is the A-2 Flying "Bomber" Jacket is a classic and is very much a part of our history. The original A-2 Jackets that were issued are far & few between but are not totally unavailable. The A-2 Jacket is still manufactured today and is still a very much sought after leather jacket.

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