A salty, battle-tested Pritzker G-1 Flight Jacket from a pilot who flew night attack missions in 1952 with VC-35 off Essex (CVA-9). It drips heroism. Remarkable, virtually one-of-kind Japanese-embroidered squadron insignia. During the Korean War units had their insignia made in Japan during R&R and many are unique not only to that squadron but often to the particular detachment, personnel or tour of duty. The swooping owl of VC-35 was common to several units as this squadron served on different carriers under the VC-35 Composite Squadron designation in separate detachments. This pilot flew in "Fox" Detachment, hence the one-of-a-kind embroidered iconography.
Night interdiction missions in the VC squadrons were generally flown in Corsairs and Skyraiders. The intention was to destroy Red forces and communications, which moved at night. (Oops, maybe in the PC Age we can't say "Red" -- okay -- democratically challenged.) Of necessity flying low to discharge ordnance, skipping over hills and through valleys, this was hazardous duty, to say the least. The multi-flag "Blood Chit" on the back, assembled from grouped, Japanese-embroidered flags, was meant to identify downed airmen as UN to (possibly) friendly peasants (if there is such a thing in Korea) as well as non-English speaking UN troops who might be understandably trigger-happy.
During the period when this pilot saw
action off Essex, James Michener visited the carrier and the writer's
experiences became THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI, a fine war novel and classic
movie (1954). One never knows, of course, and one shouldn't romanticize or
treat remote possibility as molding clay -- because the facts of war limned
by this magnificent jacket are truth enough -- but perhaps something of the
individual who wore this G-1 found its way into Harry Brubaker, Michener's
doubting but committed VA-192 hero, immortally played by William Holden.
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