An amazing and inspiring record of
service and heroism. Nebraskan Sgt. Max Burns joined the AAF in 1938, retiring in 1964. He
was at Pearl Harbor, Hickam Field on Dec. 7, 1941. Awakened by the sounds of
exploding bombs, Burns was ordered to man a machine gun atop an aircraft hangar with a comrade. He
writes, in a letter to his mother, that they were firing at incoming Japanese planes,
without apparent effect, when a bomb blew them off the hangar onto the roof of a paint
shed below. Except for cuts and bruises, both were unharmed. Sgt. Burns went on to fly 25
missions as tail gunner in the Pacific with the 13th Air Force, then 27 more in Europe with
the 563rd Bombardment Squadron, receiving the DFC with Three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air
Medal with Four Oak Leaf Cluster.
The extraordinary A-2 faithfully
charts Sgt. Burns' WWII service, indicating every posting, from the Pacific to England.
The back of the Jacket commemorates his 8th AF B-17, "WINGED
FURY," in stunning vibrant colors. The artwork on this entire Jacket,
done, it appears at the same time at the end of the war, is professional, virtually unfaded and striking.
(The Jacket was manufactured by
Aero Leather and is a fairly atypical (for this contractor) Russet Brown
Horsehide. It also does not exhibit the unusual wear common to Aero A-2s and
shown widely in these pages. Was this Russet Horsehide obtained from a different
tannery than usual for this contractor? Again, everything is speculation as all documentation
has been lost in
the mists of time. Notwithstanding, one needs a grounding in leather tanning, logic and
research to come up with any possible explanations, as opposed to the hilarious,
epidemic ignorance and wannabeism of the self-appointed "authorities" on the
several vintage jacket forums/chat groups, who for commercial motives and
"to meet new friends" (!) make claims preposterous, ignorant and
deceptive to indoctrinate those with sincere interest in this historical area but lacking experience
into their most unhealthy, unmanly cult.)
The Burns A-2 is in Mint
condition except for the cuffs, where moths have done what the Axis couldn't!
We thank Carolyn Hayes of Oregon for kindly
making this magnificent A-2 Jacket available to our Collection.