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****RARE ORIGINAL PATCH - A TRUE PIECE OF HISTORY****
This sale is for an ORIGINAL World War Two United States Navy M-422A Flight Jacket with its ORIGINAL Bombing Squadron Thirteen ( VB-13 ) Patch. This jacket is in POOR CONDITION, but the Large Painted Leather Patch is in GOOD to VERY GOOD CONDITION. The Octagonal Patch measures 12.5 Centimeters by 12.5 Centimeters and maintains approximately 80% of its original paint. It depicts the devil holding a pitchfork while riding a bomb and maintains very good coloration and detail. The patch is still firmly stitched to the jacket with no damage or loose thread. It only shows wear and age. All examinationsand tests done to the paint and stitching of the patch verify that it is original to the jacket andfromWorld War Two. This jacket and patch are GUARANTEED ORIGINAL and REAL. They are unaltered and exactly as they were during the war. They have never been cleaned, preserved or had any sort of conservation work done to them. This item is straight from a VERY advanced Naval Aviation collection.
The jacket was manufactured by Gordon andFerguson Companyand is a Size 38. The leather shows extensive age and wear as do the cuffs and waistband. Theleft cuff is completely missing and the otheris damaged. The waistband shows damage as well. The leather is still SOFT and FLEXIBLE. Ithas NO ROT and remains supple with no flaking. The TALON ZIPPER functions ascorrectly and is completely original to the jacket.The jacket also maintains all of it original buttons still sewn firmly in place and the USN paintedto the rear of the collar is also still visible. The mutton collar is in good condition with minimal loss of the wool, it is a very nice "Honey" Color.The crimson liner is heavily damaged and worn as well. The Contractor Tag isstill in the jacketbut is not completely readable. While examining the jacket we found a Saint Christopher Medal stitched to the inner lining ofthe inside pocket. A reminder ofhow members of this squadron were always so close to death.
Even with is age and damage, this M422A Displays Beautifully in a Gallary Setting! It could truly be the centerpiece of any Flight Jacket or Patch Collection. ThisJacket is the EARLY Version of the US Navy's now famous G-1 and while it is by no means perfect, it is still a very historic piece from a very historicsquadron. It was worn by an air crewman who served aboard an SB2C HelldiverCarrier Based Bomber during the warthat was a veteran ofLeyte Gulf and attacks on Iwo Jima. He also survivedthe Kamikazi attack on the Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin that killedmembers of VB-13 and the famous Marine Corps Fighter SquadronVMF-214 known as the "Black Sheep" of Pappy Boyington fame. This is truly a MUSUEM QUALITY item and it truly should be onpublic display. Now it can be in your museum and you can be as proud to own this beautiful piece of history.PLEASEEXAMINE ALL PHOTOS CLOSELY and ask any questions that you may have. Also, please take the time to read the history below. It will truly help you gain a better appreciation for this jacket and will help you understand what this jacket has been through and what a true piece of World War II History it is.
BOMBING SQUADRON 13 HISTORY -
BombingSquadron Thirteen(VB-13) was commissioned on 1 November 1943 at NAS, Wildwood,N.J. Commanding Officer LCDR, USN, Richard L. Kibbee and XO LCDR, USN, Carl"Swede" Holmstrom were Regular Navy, graduates of the Naval Academy-the remaining compliment of 48 pilots were reserves. The senior pilot withcombat experience was LT. John H. "Jack" Finroe, USNR, flightofficer, who had previously flown off the Enterprise in the South Pacific as apilot in VS-10 during 1942 combat operations as had more briefly, LT(jg) K.R.Miller. Six LT(jg)s, "Dutch" Bomberger, Milt Bonar, Kilmer Bortz, JoeEisentuth, Dick Harding, & E. John Weil had just returned from a tour ofduty on Guadalcanal, flying SBDs, Douglas Dauntlesses in VB-11 & VS-11.Ensign L.S. Feldner, who had previous experience flying South Pacific WW-IImissions off the CHENANGO rounded out the available total of conflict testedaviators! The squadron was equipped with the new SB2C, Curtis Helldivers.
Aftera training stint at NAAS Oceana, VA. Air Group Thirteen (AG-13) consisting ofVF-13, flying F-6-Fs, Gruman fighters, VT-13, in TBF Gruman torpedo planes andVB-13 exhibiting their new found confidence in SB2Cs went aboard the justcommissioned Essex-class carrier FRANKLIN and headed for the Pacific war. Asham practice strike against the Panama Canal and shore leave drinking bouts inthe "Blue Moon" bars of Colon provided some excitement on the tripwest. Leaving FRANKLIN off Hawaii, the Air Group flew into NAAS Puuenene, Maui,TH. for final combat readiness training.
On 16June 1944, we departed again aboard "BIG BEN" for the war, arrivingat Eniwetoc just after the First Battle of the Philippine Sea. Joining TaskGroup 58.2, a part of the famous Task Force 58, we headed for initial combat atthe Bonin Islands on the 4th. of July, and had a lively celebration flyingstrikes against Iwo, Chichi, and HaHa Jima Islands. The big change in theJapanese defenses observed by veterans of earlier South Pacific combat was theincrease in both volume and accuracy of the AA fire! One of our group, LT(jg)Milt Bonar, who had previously flown from Guadalcanal, and his gunner, werelost in that first day’s actions.
Strikesagainst the Mariana Islands followed and more raids on the Jimas. On 4 August aJapanese convoy of five cargo ships, eight barges and luggars were discoveredsteaming northward with an escort of four destroyers (DDs) and additional cargoships were found at Chicho Jima with a light cruiser (CL) or DD underway. AG-13joined in the attack on these vessels, claiming two DDs sunk, a third damagedand on fire and four cargo ships sent to the bottom.
Whileat sea during the first few weeks of warfare an unusual, almost humorous, diveoff the bow of our flight deck by LCDR. James Moye, the air group’s flightsurgeon, was recorded for posterity. Moye’s General Quarters station was in theship’s island just off the flight deck. Each morning, when GQ was soundedbefore sun up he would leave his cabin, take a starboard ladder from the hangardeck to the flight deck, then turn back to his battle station . In the pre-dawndarkness of the morning of 18 July, for some reason Jim climbed a port ladder,made his usual left turn, which headed him toward the bow of the ship, in totaldarkness. With nothing to stop him, he simply walked of the bow of BIG BEN,falling eighty feet to the ocean below. Fortunately he hit head first and waswashed clear of the ship’s side by the bow wave; although he was not wearing alife jacket he had a whistle which he blew frantically! A crew member heard thesefeeble bleeps and sounded the man overboard alarm.
Therewas no way that the carrier, cruising in the war zone, could take direct actionfor a rescue, but a screen destroyer was informed of the predicament andordered to search the ship’s wake. Moye, who was a strong swimmer, was pickedup by the DD OWEN and returned to FRANKLIN by breeches buoy. The destroyerrequested the usual ten gallons of ice cream (WW-II destroyers had nofacilities to make this treat) for the rescue of a Naval Aviator and were sorelydisappointed to learn that a flight surgeon failed to rate this award! Thedunking doctor made history with this feat and took quite a razzing for thebalance of the tour.
InSeptember, Dick Kibbe was promoted to CDR. and made Commander Air Group 13 (CAG-13).As Swede Holmstrom and Rube Weber, the squadron’s next two senior aviators hadboth been lost in action, Lt. Charles Skinner was ordered aboard from VB-11 tobe the new squadron CO. He was fresh from the training command with no combatexperience-facts that caused some concern among the squadron’s pilots.
On9-10 October, now a part of VADM. Bill Halsey’s Third Fleet, strikes were flownagainst the teeming harbor and air fields of Okinawa Shima--- the first raidagainst this juicy target. Several cargo ships, caught at anchor, were sunk andmany planes destroyed on the ground. While planes were being taken aboard inthe late afternoon, BIG BEN was visited by four medium bombers, one of whichmanaged to crash into the flight deck, sliding across the heavy planking andfalling off the starboard side with little damage except to rip the pants offof the Landing Signal Officer (LSO), a LT., by name of Winters, who had beenbusy waving his paddles before diving into the safety net.
Raidscontinued throughout the Philippines in operation for an invasion of Leyte.During the night of 23 October word was received that the Jap fleet was movingdown toward the 200,000 American soldiers in process of landing at Leyte. The24th was a busy day for the air groups searching out and attacking the oncomingenemy forces. Near Panay VB-13 pilots dove on a cruiser and two destroyerssinking the former and leaving the DDs blazing and listing. Later in the day,main units of the Japanese Second Fleet were sighted 150 miles from SanBernadino. The task group launched a second flight, including two divisions ofVB-13 SB2Cs which sank the battleship (BB) MUSASHI and hitting the YAMATO, asecond BB, diminishing its speed and effectiveness. The VB-13 contingency wasled by LT. Jack Finrow with LT(jg) Jake Miller on his wing and LT(jg) CharlesEmling leading the second section. Finrow made a direct hit on the MUSASHI andreceived the Navy Cross ( posthumously, as he was lost in action the next day)while his two charges received Distinguished Flying Crosses for damaging nearmisses.
Atthis point, reports began arriving about a powerful carrier force, the JapaneseThird Fleet, that was moving south. Task force 38.4, with FRANKLIN as one ofits four fast carriers, was ordered to rendezvous as a part of Halsey’s TaskForce Thirty Eight (TF-38) and intercept this enemy fleet. VB-13’s pilots knewthat tomorrow would bring the opportunity that every dive bomber savored aspriority one---dropping a bomb on a Japanese flat top!!! This engagement was togo down as the Battle of Leyte Gulf, where more ships were engaged in mortalbattle than ever before in naval history!!! Nor has the world ever seen a seabattle of such proportions since!
Fromthe "Final Carrier Battle,"authored by WW-II dive-bombing pilotHarold L. Buell, comes the following report of the next day's operations fromone of the VB-13’s senior pilots.
"Upat dawn, I was to lead the second division of six Helldivers following theskipper’s division. Archie Morrison briefed us about expected targets, whichincluded carriers and battleships. The next thing we knew we were in the airand on our way to attack the Jap fleet accompanied by a large concentration offighters and torpedo planes from FRANKLIN as well as the other carriers of ourtask force---it was 25 October 1944.
Offthe northwestern tip of Luzon at Cape Engano we found the enemy force comprisedof four carriers, two battleships, three cruisers and six destroyers. Eachsquadron was assigned a carrier to attack by the Air Group Commander callingthe shots. We spread out and pushed over to start our dives. The AA wasextremely heavy and the skipper lost a wing man when LT(jg) Tom Noreck and hisgunner were shot out of the sky before getting into his dive. From 14,000 feetin clear weather with light winds I led my following planes down on a Nipcarrier with a meat ball painted towards the bow of its flight deck making abull’s eye in my sight. Reported enemy fighters were not in evidence and thosein the air were taken care of by our F6F escorts.
Halfway down I was in a skid, which would cause a miss, so I fought the controlsuntil the ball was back on center and the sight’s pip on target. This broughtthe drop altitude considerably below procedure , but I wanted a hit at thismoment more than anything else in the world! Amid unbelievable AA fire Ireleased my 1,700 lb. armor piercing bomb and pulled out, leveling off at 600feet or less. My gunner, shouted over the intercom,"Direct hit, directhit." I was jinking and headed for the deck when passing right alongsideone of the battle wagons; with its huge pagoda mast covered with firing AAbatteries. The height, vastness and limitless fire power were unbelievable. Mygunner photographed an AA burst exploding just behind our tail!!
Safelyback aboard FRANKLIN the reports showed that all four enemy carriers were hitand burning. I had hit ZUIHO, an old veteran, and the ZUIKAKU one of those ofPearl Harbor fame was also among those going to the bottom. Three more strikeswere launched against the fleet of damaged sinking ships assuring their demisebefore the day was over."
Theeffort was not without grievous losses. VB-11 gave up three planes and crews tothe murderous AA, including the previously mentioned Tom Noreck, our flightofficer, Jack Finrow, the squadron’s most experienced combat aviator and pilotLTJG D.A. McPhie.
Helpingdestroy the last Japanese carriers to put to sea was the final combat effortfor Air Group 13. Four days later, 29 October 1944, BIG BEN took a hit from akamikaze and when the fires were extinguished the damage was so great that shewas ordered for repairs to Bremerton, WA., with AG-13 aboard.
Thishit illustrates the capricious aspects in war. Eight of VB-13s senior pilotswere having a meeting, chaired by the skipper, in the ready room when theincoming attack was announced. Some suggested that we move to the saferconfines of the ward room which was under the hangar deck’s armor plating whileothers preferred to remain and conclude our business. Fortunately the formergroup prevailed and we went below. The Jap plane and its bomb wiped out ourready room and also the adjacent one assigned to our air crewmen, killingeveryone there.... and it could have claimed the squadron’s leadership too! Theship suffered over sixty fatalities from this hit including six VB-13 radiogunners and one mechanic.
Duringits combat tour in FRANKLIN, VB-13 flew on practically every type against everytype of target. It supported three invasions and attacked the Jap fleet.Squadron pilots assisted in sinking three enemy carriers, hit two battleships(one sank) probably sank a cruiser and sank numerous destroyers. They hit 25merchant ships of which seven sank, three probably sank and two went down withthe assistance from other squadrons. Losses were inflicted on a total of 50enemy ships totaling 275,000 tons. One of the most decorated squadrons of thePacific war, VB-13 airmen were awarded 22 Navy Crosses, a Silver Star, 25Distinguished Flying Crosses and 149 Air Medals.
DuringBombing Squadron Thirteen’s tour of duty seven pilots and fourteen air crewmenwere Killed in Action (KIA) Their losses were deeply felt by there squadronmates. It is also of interest to note that the squadron suffered no operationallosses in training or while in combat.
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Original Wwii Us Navy M422a Bombing Squadron 13 Flight Jacket - Vb-13 *rare* G1: $745