Original Named Wwii Vintage Paratrooper M42 Airborne Modified Jump Jacket 541st
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Original Named Wwii Vintage Paratrooper M42 Airborne Modified Jump Jacket 541st :
OK, here is the story, or at least as much as I know about this jacket. I got this jacket just about 20 years ago from a friend who was selling things due to his divorce. He bought this during the early 1970s while visiting France. It is an original M-1942 parachute jumper jacket that was apparently battle damaged, and was repaired by piecing in part of another jump jacket. (Let's face it, by the 1980's/1990s the tailor who fixed this would have found a shelter 1/2 and fixed 2 jump jackets, and not turned 2 jump jacketsinto 1.)The part that was replaced was the knife pocket at the top front of the jacket. That portion of the jacket was cut away, and the replacement pocket was sewn in place, and new snaps added at the neck. Unfortunately, the first 2 letters of the name tape were removed during the repair. When I bought it, my friend kept saying the original owner was "Dowell". (picture 2)After I owned it a while, I found the markings on the inside of the jacket "McDowell G 541" Thus the original owner was in G Company. 541st Airborne. This unit was one of the training units at Fort Benning. Although they never deployed, they were continuously harvested for replacements for the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, and then being sent at the very end of the war to the pacific and absorbed into the 11th Airborne. With this jacket coming out of France, I always assumed the former, however, I've never been able to find a McDowell that came from the 541st. In photo #4 you can see the replacement knife pocket. Note that the tailor who replaced the pocket married up one as heavily worn as the top of the pocket just below it. Photo n#5 is the rear of the jacket, #6 #7 and #8 show the knife pocket zipper, the end of the name tape and the fixes around the pocket, including the piecing together of the neck and addition of neck snaps.In picture #9, this jacket has had 2 pockets from a bandolier added to the jacket's inside skirt to carry additional ammunition. In picture #10 you can see that the original contract tag is inside the pocket of the jacket, however, it is pretty much unreadable. In pictures #11 and #12, I've tried to show the shoulders of the jacket. There is evidence of sewing on the epaulettes, however, that was from my friend using the jacket for reenacting (he wore lieutenant, and then captain's bars), however, there appear to be an outline where a sergeant stripe was on at least one sleeve, an armband or Flag, as well as an airborne tab. The jacket's front zipper appears to have been replaced, and does work. The zippers on the replacement knife pocket also work. All in all, a quite displayable jacket that definitely was there. Admittedly, I'm intrigued if the repair was due to a traumatic injury or just where the jacket got caught up in some rigging or a nail. The elbows are reinforced with canvas pads, which you can see in picture #5. Look this jacket over closely, I think it is a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately due to government furloughs, I'm having to sell this and several other gems I have like an original vintagemap of Isigny which has Omaha Beach on it.