Original Wwii Aaf 343rd Bomb Squadron A2 Flight Jacket *3 War Veteran* Size 46 For SaleORIGINAL WWII ARMY AIR FORCES PAINTED A-2 FLIGHT JACKET***NAMED TO SGT HANK HABENICHT - WWII, KOREA & VIETNAM VETERAN******343RD BOMB SQUADRON - WWII & KOREA******BEAUTIFUL JACKET - RARE PIECE OF HISTORY***PLEASE EXAMINE ALL PHOTOS AND READ ENTIRE DESCRIPTION
This sale is for an ORIGINAL World War Two United States Army Air Forces A-2 Flight Jacket that was once worn by Sergeant Henry Rudolph "Hank" Habenicht. Sergeant Habenicht joined the United States Army Air Corps before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and continued to serve in the US Air Force through the Korean and Vietnam Wars! History of the 343rd Bomb Squadron shows they flew extensive combat mission in World War II and Korea. Some records show that SGT Habenicht not only served with the 343rd in WWII but also saw combat with the squadron in Korea as a gunner on a B-29! This is a VERY RARE and historic jacket from a TRUE HERO! This is a one of a kind jacket with a great history. It truly is a museum quality Flight Jacket with an AMAZING History!This A-2 is a WWII Private Purchase flight jacket. It is a very large SIZE 46 and in Very Good to Excellent Condition. The United States Army Air Forces STOPPED issuing A-2 Flight Jackets when production ceased and stores ran out in 1943. After 1943 any member of the US Army Air Forces that wanted an A2 had to acquire them by "NON-ISSUE" means. Meaning if they simply wanted one or needed to replace a lost or stolen jacket, they had to buy it themselves. Obviously, this one is an Excellent Example of a Heavy Duty, Very High Quality, Private Purchase A-2. It maintains its Original CONMAR Zipper that functions correctly. The jacket has a silk liner very similar to those of USAAF Issued A-2 Jackets. The liner has a large hole in the upper portion, but white manufacturer's stampings that are also similar to those seen in issue jackets are still visible and can be seen in the photos. The cuffs and waistband are in very good condition and appear to be original, but MAY be very old replacements. If they are, they were done a long time ago by an expert. All stitching and thread has been examined very closely under a black light and had chemical tests run that verify everything as being WWII Era. The paint has also been examined and its chemical makeup is that of WWII Era Coatings as well. The Name Tag is Post WWII as evidence by the USAF designation. It is much lighter leather and does not show the same amount of age and wear as the jacket itself. There are numerous painted areas on the jacket, some of which are not visible in the photos. Across the upper back in a giant scroll is the name HANK HABENICHT with a large place below it where an aircraft was painted. Barely visible is the outline of a large rounded tail section that appears to be a B-29. Below the large space is "343RD BOMB SQDN" and below that are Three Flags. The Flag on the left appears to have been an American Flag. The Center Flag Appears to have been a "Bonnie Blue" or "Lone Star" Flag (SGT Habenicht was from Texas) or Perhaps a Korean War UN Flag. However, the blue appears be TOO DARK to be a UN Flag and nothing resembling a UN symbol is visible. I am not certain as to what the Flag on the right is. It appears to be a Japanese Hinomaru or "Meatball" Flag. Perhaps because the squadron had been redesignated from the B-24 to the B-29 late during WWII and were headed to bomb the Japanese homelands when the war ended. American Flag, Bonnie Blue Flag, Japanese "Kill" Flag. . . My speculation. The front of the jacket bears the phrase "I'VE HAD IT" Painted in yellow to the upper right chest. Obviously, there was something painted below "I've Had It" but only the outline of a rectangle image is still visible. Also to the right portion of the jacket was a Circular Image Painted to the pocket. Also, only the outline of the paint is visible and the image on the pocket is unrecognizable. To the Left Upper Chest is the name tag. The name tag has "H. Habenicht - USAF" and his service number. All information is lightly stamped into the name tag. Below the name tag in large calligraphy letters is the name "FLORENCE." Perhaps the name of his aircraft. . . The jacket has light to moderate wear to the elbow and upper shoulder areas. There is moderate wear to the upper portion of the collar at the fold behind the neck. As previously stated, there is a hole in the liner. There is also a 1 1/2 inch portion of loose stitching to the right shoulder seam, at the top of the sleeve that is very hard to find. NONE of these issues detract from the jacket when displayed and it is BEAUTIFUL!!! All leather is SOFT, VERY FLEXIBLE and VERY SOLID. There are NO heavily worn thin areas and NO rot. The CONMAR Zipper functions very well. This jacket was worn for a VERY Long time and very well taken care of. It still maintains its original leather pull to the zipper as well. This is a wonderful A-2 and in Wonderful Condition!!! In my opinion this jacket Could Be Worn Today! This is truly a museum quality A-2 that has a GREAT History! You will be very pleased with it when you see it in person and will love adding it to your collection. It is very big and ornate with great color. It displays very well in a gallery setting and looks very impressive from the front and the back. This is a very solid, very high quality jacket that was worn for many years and through THREE Wars by a man who actually flew in combat in all three! You will have a very hard time ever finding another A-2 with such a tremendous history. It is rare in its history and rare in its Big Size! You truly have to see it to believe it! PLEASE view all photos closely and ask any questions that you may have! Thank you for looking and good luck offerding!!! BRIEF HISTORY OF HENRY RUDOLPH "HANK" HABENICHT:
Henry Habenicht was born 29 September 1919 in Fredericksburg, Texas. After graduating from High School he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas on 27 August 1941. It is unclear as to when "Hank" was assigned to the 343rd Bomb Squadron as records show he was involved with Gliders at one point during the war. The history of the 343rd Shows they saw extensive action during WWII. Flying numerous combat missions in the North African Campaign - Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and The British "Western Desert" Campaign. Also, flying numerous bombing missions against Sicily, Italy, The Balkans and participating in the famous Polesti Raid on the oil fields in Romania. Through the war the 343rd Continued their relentless bombing attacks. Striking targets in Occupied France, Germany, Austria and once again in the Balkans. The squadron returned to the United States in May of 1945 and was Redesignated as a B-29 Super Fortress Heavy Bombing Squadron and began training for attacks on the Japanese Homelands. It appears that Hank Habenicht was with the 343rd during their fighting in Europe. His early enlistment in the US Army Air Corps certainly would allow for him to have seen extensive action with them during the war. He was also with them when they were training in the US to become a B-29 squadron. He was a sergeant and in training with the squadron when the war ended. After the war, Hank Habenicht stayed in the reserves and shows up on records as being in the newly formed United States Air Force in 1949, even though he may have joined the USAF when if formed in 1947. The 343rd having been recently reformed after being deactivated at the end of WWII, was deployed to Korea in 1950 and saw its first action in August. I am unsure if SGT Habenicht was with the squadron at this time, but it appears that he was flying combat missions with the squadron in 1952 as a gunner in the B-29 Super Fortress. After the Korean War he continued his career in the US Air Force and rose up the enlisted ranks. During the Vietnam war he was assigned to a B-52 Squadron, was deployed to Southeast Asia and Flew Combat Missions Over Vietnam in a B-52!!! SAC Combat Crew Magazine lists him as a Master Sergeant in 1972! Henry Rudolph "Hank" Habenicht had an extensive and long career in the US Army Air Corps, US Army Air Forces and US Air Force. THIS A2 WAS WITH HIM. Very likely in THREE WARS! He retired as a CHIEF Master Sergeant. The 9th and HIGHEST Rank an enlisted man can achieve in the Air Force. Henry Rudolph "Hank" Habenicht passed away at 89 years of age on 1 October 2008 in Houston, Texas. He is buried at Brookside Memorial Park. A true hero of our nation and like many other heroes of his generation, we ALL owe him a huge debt of gratitude.If you are interested in rare and hard to find pieces of real World War I and World War II history, then RUSH to visit our store, The Old Patriot Militaria or “OPM” as our “Insiders” call us. We just purchased a very old collection of over thirty U.S. WWI Uniforms as well as a complete cavalry officer’s footlocker grouping. Not to mention THREE ORIGINAL WWII Painted Army Air Forces A-2 Flight Jackets and two complete AAF Officer’s trunk groupings with almost every item you could imagine in EXCELLENT Condition! We have more rare and museum quality items coming up than you can imagine! Most items have never been offered to the general public! Be sure to sign up for OPM’s weekly email newsletter at our store or by following the link just above this description. Receiving our email newsletter will make you an “Old Patriot Insider” and keep you on the front lines of our new and upcoming listings. Have your “Battle Plan” ready, you never know when we will list exactly what you are looking for!!!
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