Page 327 - 4090-BOOK1
P. 327

   LOT 432
Highly Desirable, Identified World War II USAAF 91st Bomb Group B-17 “Mary Lou” Painted A-2 Flight Jacket - This highly attractive World War II USAAF
A-2 flight jacket was manufactured by J.A.
Dubow, is a size 36, and was worn by the tail gunner Sergeant Gorden L. Lenaz aboard the B-17 “Mary Lou” (#7504) assigned to the 91st Bombardment Group, 323rd
Bomb Squadron. Lenaz flew
35 missions before returning home. “Mary Lou” was
piloted by 2nd Lt. John
C. Pullen and a photo of
Pullen’s crew in front of
the “Mary Lou” is featured
in Gary Valant’s “Vintage
Aircraft Nose Art” on
page 44. The nose art
was painted by Tony
Starcer who was known
as the “Nose Artist
Extraordinaire.” His work
included the famous
“Memphis Belle.” The
last flight of the “Mary
Lou” was on October
13, 1944, as the landing
gear collapsed upon a
crash landing at base after returning from a mission to Frieberg. The bomber had
flown 70 missions before
being salvaged.
The legendary 91st BG, aka the
“Ragged Irregulars”, flew 340
missions between November 7,
1942, and April 25, 1945, in 9,591
sorties and dropped 22,142 tons of
bombs while losing 197 aircraft. The
group had an official claim of 420 enemy aircraft
destroyed, the highest total of all the 8th AF bomber groups. The 91st BG
also had the highest losses of any of these bomb groups. The unit led the famous Schweinfurt mission on August 17, 1943. The 323rd BS was one of the mostly highly decorated strategic heavy bomb squadrons in the European Theater.
Lenaz’s jacket features an embroidered 8th AF patch on the left shoulder, painted leather patches on the front, and a highly impressive work of artwork on the back. The left chest carries Lenaz’s leather name tag and a painted 5 inch leather 91st BG patch. The right chest carries a painted 5 inch leather patch depicting the nose art of “Mary Lou” (fair condition). Note the font and art are nearly identical to the artwork on the bomber painted by Tony Starcer. The back of the jacket serves as the leather canvas for a fantastic work of art featuring a B-17 with correct 91ST BS tail markings and dropping 35 bombs over swastikas along with the text “Alice,”“New Jersey,” and “35 Missions in E.T.O.” Lenaz was from Pequannock, New Jersey, and after the war married Alice Bellamy. The lining is hand marked “LENAZ/42003830.” A small button with a rendition of Jesus and reads “Scared Heart of Jesus, I Place My Trust in Thee” is on the inside forward neck area. The jacket was featured in the October 2018 issue of “Flight Journal”.
CONDITION: Very good, displaying minor wear overall with the zipper starter box and pull absent, and supple leather. The 91s BG patch retains much of the original paint. The B-17 artwork remains highly attractive. A B-17 crewmember’s painted A-2 flight jacket connected to the artist Tony Starcer is a must have for the serious WWII aviation collector.
Provenance: The Saloga Collection.
Estimate: 5,500 - 8,000

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