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Guest b52g8r

Leather Flight Jacket

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Guest b52g8r

Anybody know the name of the place that customizes the FLIGHT (not ****in missile) Jackets? They put silk lining in and print blood chits on them. If anybody has info on that it would be appreciated. thanks...

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Guest lovelacm

POP's Leather.. got to PopsLeather.com.. check out the bottom-left of BaseOps.Net.

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Guest RoninCo

If you go to Pops website, you can order one online. No need to wait. The only drawback is that you have to take all of your own measurements as it is a custom jacket. I got one and am EXTREMELY happy with it. Quality, Fit, Grade of materials, etc are all above par. I have seen the ones at Mr. Lim's, and although I am a fan of his tailored suits (I have several), I didnt like his jackets. Zipper was not heavy duty as well as a few other queepy things. However, if you are going to spend the cash on a product that should last you 10+ years, make it count!

Hope this helps!

-Ronin Co

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I got my jacket modified in person at the Pops Leather outside Incirlik AB. Absolutely outstanding work done.

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Guest repo

The website has tons of stuff on it. Anyone know what the "standard" is? Also, the link to the blood chit info didn't work. What is a blood chit?

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Originally posted by repo:

Anyone know what the "standard" is?

I don't know that there's a standard, but the most common ones I saw were Arabic and all-encompassing. The Arabic version had a bunch of different Arabic dialects and the all-encompassing (the one I got) had Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Italian, Finnish, Serbia-Crotian, French, Swedish, German, Greek, Polish, English, and Russian.

The text reads, "I am an American. I do not speak your language. Misfortune forces me to seek your assistance in obtaining food, shelter and protection. Please take me to someone who will provide for my safety and see that I am returned to my people. I will do my best to see that no harm comes to you. My government will reward you."

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A picture is worth a thousand words...they look like this...

us_chit.jpg

Cheers! M2

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Don't forget to also get the LINER option for your jacket - it is a zip-in liner that adds insulation to the jacket for winter ops... makes the leather jacket a whole lot warmer!

BTW, if you go to Pops, let 'em know, BASEOPS.NET sent you!

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In addition to the liner option baseops mentioned (I have that, it's outstanding), Pops Leather can add a thin inner liner to the jacket - on mine, both the inner liner and zip-out liner have maps of the US. On the inner liner I had them attach a pen/pencil pocket and zippered pocket. They also modded the outer pockets with side pokets (for your hands) and put extensions on the armpits so your jacket doesn't ride up when you lift your arms. My jacket is 6-9 years old, and I think the newer versions may already have the armpit mods, but it's good option if you don't.

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The mod = new silk liner, and uber cool blood chit sewn inside.

in all honesty...wear the b*tch to every event you possibly can, write your name inside, sew in a nametag, whatever. Mine never has been stolen.

On the other hand, I don't wear mine on missions like some Film Actor's Guild members do. That's why God created Gore-tex jackets (or the green/brown flyer's/tank commander's jackets for pilots who never have to stand outside for engine start). I just wear my leather to work and on locals, if it's not raining anyway.

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Originally posted by ClearedHot:

Just to fan the flames, I stopped wearing my leather jacket when they started issuing them to non-aviators. Not dumping on the support guys, but it lost the aviator meaning when they started giving them to everyone in the service.

We actually have admin types on the airstaff that wear flightsuits and leather jackets.

Isn't there some kind of AFI governing who can/can't wear the thing?

Does it actually allow for non-flyers to wear the leather jackets?

And if so, at what point in their careers are they "allowed" to, since pilots have to wait until they are qualed at their first squadron (from what I understand)?

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Guest C-21 Pilot

Pg 106 of AFI 36-2903 states:

Authorized Individuals

Leather A-2 flying jacket with flight suit, hospital whites, or service uniforms (not service dress uniform). Do not wear with civilian

clothes. Attach MAJCOM patch and name tag with velcro. Name tag is 2 x 4 inches, brown or black leather, simulated leather. Emboss with wings, first and last name, rank, and USAF. Members may add an inside pocket, at their expense, when it does not detract from the external appearance. The Wing and Star patch maybe worn by individuals not assigned to a MAJCOM. Issue brown leather flying gloves may be worn.

Then you have to define: Authorized Individal

Which I have yet to find...but it can fall under realm of the MAJCOM Commander (such as what Gen Fogle-toon allowed here at USAFE)...yep, the USAFE Dir of Services floats around base w/ a Flt Suit, A2 and crunch cap.

Gotta love it...

Hey, did they find Jimmy Hoffa?

[ 31. May 2006, 15:00: Message edited by: C-21 Pilot ]

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Ditto on feeling embarrassed for them. Anyone who wants to wear a leather jacket or a flight suit who is not a pilot or a nav is fine with me. I'm sure they love it when people come up to them and ask them if they are pilots and then they explain that they are really a Delta IV multi-super stage advanced coffee making dynamics engineer. Clothes don't make a man, turning dudes into hair, teeth, and eyeballs does.

Cheers,

BeerMan

Or delivering said items (fuel, people, toilet paper, etc.) that allow us to do said disposing.

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I personally don't care if it's exclusively a pilot thing, or if it has anything to do with being Mission Qual'd, or with retention, or anything like that.

If it were up to me, the uniform issue A-2 would be just like it was in the 40s, sans the leather name tag and MAJCOM patch. Oh, and we'd be able to paint nose art on the back. Of course, I'm all for painting nose art on the jets, too, but that's beside the point. I'm even for bringing back pinks 'n' greens, along with the tucked-in tie, hehheh.

The current-issue A-2 is different than the A-2 of the 40s, and as far as I can tell the changes were made with the Avirex contract of the late 90s. The original Cooper A-2s that were issued in the late 80s and early 90s were true to the wartime A-2 pattern. The one I was issued in '00 has three notable modifications: the neck closure hook has been eliminated, extra material has been added to the under-arm area (a popular Pop's Leather mod!), and the pockets have been subtly modified to allow the side-entry.

I think the story of how the A-2 came back is pretty interesting. It's almost as amazing as the success of ACC Heritage Flight (which I expeted to fizzle and die after the 50th Anniversary in '97).

http://www.afa.org/magazine/1993/0993jacket.asp

Although the A-2 was not issued after the Korean War, it remained a symbol of USAAF’s war years in the minds of those who served. It was revived in the 1980s when Project Warrior was established to remind blue-suiters about the fighting heritage of the Air Force and as a retention incentive.

One Project Warrior initiative came from Col. James S. “Stu” Mosbey, then assigned to 9th Air Force headquarters at Shaw AFB, S. C. A friend showed him an A-2 jacket his father had worn during World War II as a P-51 Mustang pilot. On its back was a painting of a Mustang named Tokyo Express. To Mosbey, the jacket expressed a sense of union, common interests and responsibilities, and the experiences of thousands of World War II pilots and crew members.

Colonel Mosbey wondered, “Why did the Air Force ever give up the A-2? It’s a beautiful jacket that we all ought to be able to wear.”

Mosbey approached a number of his fighter pilot friends. If permission were granted, he asked, would they like to buy and wear the A-2? The answer was a thundering “Yes!” Colonel Mosbey and others visited the Air Force Museum, chipped in $20 each, and bought an A-2 in the gift shop. As a group, they presented the jacket to Lt. Gen. William L. Kirk, commander of 9th Air Force, and made their pitch to be allowed to purchase the jacket with their own money and wear it as a symbol of Air Force heritage and esprit de corps among fighter pilots.

General Kirk agreed to the idea and took it “upstairs” to Gen. Robert D. Russ, commander of Tactical Air Command. General Russ authorized Mosbey and a team of pilots to visit other TAC bases with 600 questionnaires for pilots, hoping to gauge their enthusiasm. Ninety-five percent said they would wear the A-2. General Russ approved the jacket revival but thought it should be an item of government issue.

The Obvious Choice

Col. Schumbert C. “Hoss” Jones, a former Thunderbird pilot assigned to TAC headquarters, was appointed project officer. He studied the regulations and researched the procurement sources. He found there were about a dozen kinds of flight jackets available, including Navy types, but “it always came back to the famous A-2” as the desired choice.

“ Although it was intended originally only for TAC pilots,” according to Colonel Jones, “the jacket idea quickly blossomed into an Air Force–wide project as other commands became involved.” Gen. John T. Chain, Jr., commander of Strategic Air Command, “was very much in favor of his pilots also wearing the A-2,” said Colonel Jones. “Other major commanders wanted their combat-ready pilots to be included.”

As a result, the revival of the A-2 jacket took on a special status as a visible symbol of the modern Air Force pilot. According to one internal paper, the rationale given as the idea climbed upward in command channels was that combat-ready aircrews were “not adequately recognized and that reinstatement of the distinctive aviators’ jacket would be a significant help.” The Air Force estimated that the initial expense to outfit the operational forces would be less than $5 million.

Briefings were prepared as the idea gained momentum. A new regulation in 1987 permitting the wearing of A-2 flight jackets would commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Air Force. The jackets would acknowledge outwardly the “fly and fight” mission of the Air Force and recognize “first-line” active-duty, Guard, and Reserve men and women. Jackets would be issued on a one-time basis only to combat-ready flyers (officers and enlisted) assigned to front-line units.

The defense budget included a line item for the jackets, but some on Capitol Hill thought the idea frivolous and too expensive. Nevertheless, although a number of Air Force programs sustained deep cuts, the jackets stayed in the budget after hard lobbying by those in and out of uniform who believed in their value.

Maj. Mitch Driggers, a navigator in charge of the clothing division in the Pentagon, was assigned to get the jackets back into the Air Force flight clothing inventory. As quoted in Hell Bent for Leather by Derek Nelson and Dave Parsons, a book about the A-2 and Navy G-1 jackets, Major Driggers did not find the job easy.

“ The deeper I dug, I found out that there were no patterns,” he said. “In the old days, a series of drawings [was] done, and then they figured out the general dimensions.”

Faraway Sources

Major Driggers received from the Air Force Museum an A-2 jacket made in 1936. He found two manufacturers (Avirex and Willis & Geiger) that were still making them because of public demand. When the contract notice was issued, ten other manufacturers sent in bids. The contract was won by the Cooper Sportswear Manufacturing Co. of Newark, N. J., which opted to make the jackets out of goatskin instead of horsehide. The manufacturer had to obtain goatskin from Nigeria, Tasmania, and Pakistan because no source in the US was large enough.

The Air Force chose December 31, 1987, as the deadline for awarding a contract. Specifications were issued, and the procurement process began. The initial contract was for 53,000 seal-brown goatskin “traditional” USAAF A-2 jackets, to be delivered at a rate of 5,000 jackets per month. They would be worn with a leather name tag embossed with name, rank, wings, and “USAF” in silver on brown leather and would bear a major command patch. The first jackets were delivered in May 1988.

According to the current regulation, the jackets will be issued only to officers or enlisted personnel who are in mission-ready, emergency-mission-ready, mission capable, or mission-support billets assigned at or below wing level who met the criteria on or after September 18, 1987, the Air Force’s fortieth birthday. “Once a member is issued the jacket,” according to the regulation, “he or she may continue to wear it after being reassigned from the duties [that] originally qualified him or her for the issue.” It can be worn “with the flight suit, service uniform, or pullover sweater” but not with civilian clothes. After he or she retires, the wearer may keep the jacket.

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Guest Rainman A-10

...made their pitch to be allowed to purchase the jacket with their own money and wear it as a symbol of Air Force heritage and esprit de corps among fighter pilots. General Kirk agreed to the idea and took it “upstairs” to Gen. Robert D. Russ, commander of Tactical Air Command. General Russ authorized Mosbey and a team of pilots to visit other TAC bases with 600 questionnaires for pilots, hoping to gauge their enthusiasm. Ninety-five percent said they would wear the A-2. General Russ approved the jacket revival but thought it should be an item of government issue.

I love USAF history. I'll guarantee there were not all kinds of goofy grapes wearing those jackets around base back in the day. There sure are now.

FWIW, I would like to cast a little perspective on this issue...

This was a time when the USAF was freaking about about pilot retention. The jackets were supposed to keep people in, and that soured many guys. This was also the time period when they were taking surveys about the bonus. They said the bonus would non-retribution based. Next thing you know, feet on the ramp unless you sign the bonus.

I remember the jacket surveys. We all said fine. There wasn't even a discussion about who should pay for it. Once Chain (proud founder of such stupid ideas of the "Thunderhawks") got his hands on it claiming all MR folks should get one it was off to the races. Unfortunately that was before TAC ate SAC and next thing you know the guy slopping chow in the DFAC is using a couple leather jackets to mop the floors at the end of his shift. No more combat ready signifigance. I remember how proud I was to be MR and how hard I worked to stay MR. I talked to some dude with some type of penguin wings wearing a jacket one day and asked him what he had to do to qualify to wear that jacket and he said "Uh, what do you mean?" Everyone who wore the thing knew what it meant to have one when they first came out. Everyone.

I quit caring about the jacket that very instant and haven't worn it since.

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The day my MR folder was signed off I went and got my jacket. That's what it represents to me.

Dodos can wear the jacket all they want. They can justify it with whatever excuse they want. I earned mine, I'm happy with that.

HD

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Guest Papas

Hey Guys,

I have a few questions about A-2 jackets…

1. When can you sport them?....word on the street is that you can’t wear one until you’re mission qualified at your gaining unit.

2. Will my squadron issues me one, or will I be dishing out big money at Pop’s Leather?

3. If I need to purchase my own, can someone tell me what options I should go with on the Pop’s leather site? There are like a million and I’m not sure which ones are cool and

keep the jacket in regulations.

- Thanks

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To answer question #1: Your unit won't send you to supply for your jacket until you're mission qual'd. Thats how most squadrons operate. You'll have to be pretty proactive in order to get a jacket, if you want one. If your squadron is like the rest of the AF, they will always say they don't have any money...until the end of the FY, where they are buying everything under the sun.

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Hey Guys,

I have a few questions about A-2 jackets…

1. When can you sport them?....word on the street is that you can’t wear one until you’re mission qualified at your gaining unit.

Heres one: Whats the deal if you were issued the jacket as Msn Qual Enlisted aircrew, but now an O in a flying career field. I'm in AETC (key word) and therefore not Msn qual on my gaining airframe.

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Guest Boom
Heres one: Whats the deal if you were issued the jacket as Msn Qual Enlisted aircrew, but now an O in a flying career field. I'm in AETC (key word) and therefore not Msn qual on my gaining airframe.

You can wear your jacket however will be givin shit by all the instructors. Buddy of mine crossflowed from the KC-10 to the KC-135 and wore his jacket he got at Travis. All the -135 instructors gave him shit at the school house, which he promptly told to f#ck off.

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With Pop's, go with the zip-in fur liner, both sets of inside pockets, the modified outer pockets, and the blood chit if you were ever "over there". Otherwise it looks a little strange. Mine has the tough, thick leather, but I'm not sure what it's called. It has managed to fend off all the sharp edges in both planes I've flown.

I had mine made for me to my measurements at Pop's when I was at Incirlik in the OPC/ONW days. He has a really classy setup, and will take good care of you.

There are a lot of space guys wearing leather here at STRAT, but I've always worn my leather when I fly, giving it the weathered look. Theirs look like they just came off the rack and are unmodified. The difference is readily apparent. There are also a lot of them wearing nomex jackets, too, so that isn't much of a discriminator anymore.

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THREAD REVIVAL!!!

I figured this was a better place to throw out this question than a new thread.

Does anyone know a good source to BUY a USAF authorized A-2 jacket that is of the same or better quality than the ones being issued?

Before I get flamed, here's the deal. After 10 years working my ass off on the flight line as a knuckle busting MX guy, and three years in training, this July I finally became a CMR kind of dude. I had not thought about the jacket much, but now that it's starting to get cold, I went to my RA and asked for my jacket. The answer? "That is a low-priority item. We'll take your name down and you can expect to get it sometime at the end of next year".

F**k that! I want my @#$%@#$! jacket! I'll go ahead and be a nerd and say I always thought they were cool as hell as a MX dude and wished I could wear one. Now, I worked my ass off and have finally earned one... But can't get it because our squadron can't even afford paper right now.

So yeah...Anyone know a good source? I figure I'll buy one and then when I finally get my issued one, I'll sell it on E-bay and recoup some of my money, or give it to a new FE who can't afford one but has earned his as well.

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Any options other than Pops? This seems to be the place to go as it has been mentioned to me before.

The current issue jacket is (was) made by Avirex, which has since had a corporate name change to "Cockpit USA". They sell the current issue jacket for something like $350 if you're really that hot and heavy to get one.

IMHO, if you're not a historical snob like I am, go get the Pop's Leather one that everyone and their brother on here has recommended. Best fit and best quality that I've seen for an "issue" jacket.

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