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Record 630/959

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A-2 Flight Jacket; leather construction; two front patch pockets with flaps, knitted cuffs and waist; fold down collar with snaps on ends; rayon lining inside; 5th Army Air Force patch on left shoulder: blue disk with gold embroidered '5', a shooting AAF star and three small stars; left breast has pilot's qualification patch of white ink on brown rectangular leather of wings with shield; below is an 80th Fighter Squadron patch of cream colored disk brown border and image of a New Guinea head-hunter above a broken long bone (Headhunter Squadron). Interior stenciled in black ink: "SCHRIBER, L." Interior cloth label at collar: "TYPE A-2/DRAWING NO. 30-1415/CONTRACT NO. W535 AC-22752/ROUGH WEAR CLOTHING CO/MIDDLETOWN, PA./PROPERTY/AIR FORCE U.S. ARMY/40". Worn by Captain Louis Schriber II during World War II. The following information is quoted from an undated letter from Schriber: "The 80th Fighter Squadron, known as the Headhunter Squadron, was probably the most famous United States Army Air Force Fighter Squadron during the entire World War II conflict. It was the first Air Force Fighter Squadron to destroy over 200 enemy aircraft in aerial combat in any theater of operation. It had one of the highest ratios of kills per losses of any active unit in the Air Force. The squadron was active in the Southwest Pacific from August 1942 through the end of the conflict in 1945. They were stationed from Darwin, Australia to Okinawa and were the first Fighter Squadron to land on Japanese soil at the close of the war. During the New Guinea campaign it was not unusual for 16 P-38s of the 80th to engage in excess of 100 enemy aircraft in aerial combat over enemy territory. During several of these battles they had from 15 to 20 confirmed kills without loss. During the course of the war the 80th received 3 Presidential Unit Citations for their efforts. They flew in the battles of the Bismarck Sea, Hollandia, Rabaul, Leyte, Luzon, Okinawa and countless others. The squadron attacked, with guns and bombs, airfields, shipping, troops and other targets, as well as engaging in aerial combat." "I was with the Squadron from April of 1943 through April of 1945, or a period of about 2 years. During this time I destroyed 8 enemy aircraft in aerial combat with three other possible destructions. I flew 198 combat missions and 794 combat hours. Several missions I received damage to my aircraft through enemy action, but only once was I damaged severely necessitating a crash landing upon a deserted Japanese airstrip on the island of Luzon. Upon leaving the Squadron I held the rank of Captain and was the Squadron Operations Officer and acting Commanding Officer. Along with the 3 Presidential Unit Citations I was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Air Medals and 6 Campaign Ribbons. I joined the Squadron at Port Moresby, New Guinea and departed from Mindoro in the Philippines." "If you wonder why we wore leather flying jackets in the tropics it was due to high altitude flying possibilities under certain conditions. It was hot as Hades up to about 10,000 feet, but became progressively colder with altitude. The jackets were with us on most missions." "The jacket was Government Issue and was known as a Type A-2. The insignia on the shoulder is that of the 5th Air Force and the large patch was the official insignia of the 80th, or Headhunter Squadron. The wing insignia is that of a pilot." "The 80th Fighter Squadron was a member of the 8th Fighter Group, 5th Fighter Command, 5th Army Air Force under the command of General Kinney. Some of the most famous names flew with our Squadron upon occasion, including General Kinney, General Wurtsmith, General Smith, Richard Bong and Charles A. Lindberg.* After our 200th air destruction we were visited by General MacArthur to extend his personal congratulations." "There were 21 'ACE' rated pilots with the 80th at one time, or another, and the 'ACE' of 'ACES' among our Squadron was Jay T. Robbins who recently retired as a four star General of the Air Force. He was the Commanding General of the Air Transport Command at time of retirement at Scott Air Force Base. He had 21 enemy air destructions. Our 'ACE' rated pilots accounted for 162 of our 224 aerial destructions." "Our Squadron has has several reunions since the close of the war and the most recent was held in Oshkosh this past year, 1973. They will again be together in SanDiego in 1975." *In a later letter dated February 29, 2000, Schriber: "Bong and Lindberg were not (members of the 80th). Bong flew several missions with us on assignment and Lindberg was with us to instruct our pilots how to conserve fuel on extended length missions. I had the opportunity to meet, converse and fly with both." See Archives, photograph 20681; image of Louis Schriber as an aviation cadet; not wearing jacket, 6513.
Jacket -WORLD WAR II -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum

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Last modified on: December 12, 2009