One of the great joys for the genuine
collector is the discovery of something hitherto unknown or unseen. At once it's
elating and humbling, showing us that our knowledge and understanding are always
incomplete. That the term "expert" is always limited and conditional.
Recently, due to the kindness of K. L.
Riggins, we were fortunate to obtain his dad's B-15 Flight Jacket and
comprehensive memorabilia. A.L. Riggins flew in the 4th Combat Cargo Squadron,
later redesignated the 329th Troop Carrier Squadron (9/45), CBI Theater of
In addition to this grouping being
thorough and beautiful, a great bonus to our knowledge was the fact that this
B-15 is made out of Nylon! As such it is the earliest AAF Nylon flight jacket
we've ever encountered. Note that it is not a B-15A and not a B-15B, rather the
1st generation B-15, always found in Cotton. The Nylon fabric differs from the
B-15B specification in construction and hand. There might even be a Rayon
component. The specification date is 1944. Contractor is Dann, a principal B-15
manufacturer. For the Nylon historian and collector, this is an exciting
find, predating by several years the earliest Air Force nylon flight jackets.