Saturday, January 9, 2010
From My Personal Collection: WWII M-422 Flight Jacket
This jacket is really something special. We come across later versions/ reproductions at work but when I first had the chance to pick this up I jumped at it. It's the only one that I've ever seen in person.
You may ask, just what the heck is the M-422? In short it's one of the first Naval flight jackets ever made. It's design inspired it's most famous successor, the G-1 jacket. The historical value of this piece is immense, and it pre-dates most other bomber jackets. I was really fortunate to find one without any tears and rips in the leather. The leather still has it's original luster!
What makes it even cooler is that it still has the nametag of the former owner, a Mr. McKearnin. The owner, William J. McKearnin, was part of the 12th Air Force, 57th Air Division, 446th BS
He served in Italy during WWII as a "radio operator-gunner" and notes of his promotion are detailed here. Unfortunately there's precious little online about Mr. McKearnin or his squadron.