Page 260 - 4090-BOOK3
P. 260

    LOT 3465
Two World War II USAAF A-2 Flight
Jackets Identified to P-38 Lightning
Pilot Captain John A. Perrone of the
96th Fighter Squadron - Offered here are
two World War II A-2 flight jackets worn by
P-38 Lightning fighter pilot Captain John A.
Perrone. A-2 jackets worn by P-38 pilots are
nearly impossible to find, and here is a pair of
jackets worn by a known combat fighter pilot
with official confirmed aerial victories! Perrone
was assigned to the 96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd
Fighter Group. He flew the P-38 “Wild Hair” and is
credited with four aerial victories, all achieved in
the Mediterranean Theater between March-June
1943 when he was a 2nd Lieutenant. His first victory
was against a Messerschmitt Me 209 on March 1,
1943. In his wartime dairy he discussed his first aerial
victory: “Oddly enough, I did not feel the euphoria I
had expected. Probably because I had envisioned an
explosion, with pieces going everywhere. That didn’t happen. We were at low altitude under a broken cloud layer when I
got on his tail. He pulled up sharply and took violent evasive action, finally making a right-hand turn to enter heavy cloud layer. As he entered the cloud, I got off a burst that seemed to be hitting the fuselage above the wing. At that time I broke away, and never saw him again. Jackson was following [me] and saw him drop out of the cloud and crash.” Perrone was an early pilot with the group, and at the age of 26 was considered an “elder statesman” of the unit. He completed his 50th mission on July 26, 1943.
The 96th FS was deployed to Algeria a month after Operation Torch landings and was initially an element of the 12th AF. The squadron participated in Operation Husky and moved to Italy where it became part of the 15th AF. The squadron earned three Distinguished Unit Citations and was credited with destroying 194 enemy aircraft. The Lockheed P-38 Lighting was an odd but beautiful looking fighter. It was large, stood on tricycle landing gear, was mated with twin counter rotating turbosupercharged Allison engines housed in separate booms, and was designed around a central nacelle for the cockpit and armament consisting of four .50 caliber machine guns and a 20 mm cannon. When it first flew in 1939, it looked like nothing else in the air. Its unusual design made for the perfect platform for an effective multi-role aircraft. Besides a fighter, it was fighter-bomber, night fighter, pathfinder, and photo reconnaissance aircraft. While today the legacy of the P-38 is obscured in the shadow of the North American P-51 Mustang, aviation enthusiasts still remember the fearsome reputation the P-38 held in every theater of operations during World War II, especially in the Pacific. Richard Bong, America’s ace of aces during the war with 40 confirmed air-to-air victories, flew a P-38.
1) A-2 flight jacket manufactured by Rough Wear Clothing Co. (order number 42-1401P, run of 30,000 on August 8, 1941), size 36, and Crown zipper. The left front pocket retains the “RW” factory tag. The left chest carries Perrone’s leather name tag (faint). A whistle is attached to the left lapel. 2) A-2 flight jacket manufactured by Aero Leather Clothing Co. (contract no. W535 AC-21996, run of 25,000 on October 14, 1941), size 36, and Talon zipper. The shoulders feature leather captain rank insignia. The left chest carries Perrone’s leather name tag and a wonderful painted 96th FS leather patch.
CONDITION: 1) Very good showing authentic wear with heavier wear on the waist band and cuffs, and absent zipper teeth and pull. 2) Good displaying moderate wear overall with heavier wear and tears on the fair condition cuffs and waist band. The name tag is legible. The squadron patch retains most of the vivid original paint. This is a rare grouping of two original A-2 flight jackets worn by a P-38 fighter pilot with four confirmed aerial victories. Now is your chance to own a rare piece to the P-38 legacy.
258 Provenance: The Saloga Collection. Estimate: 6,500 - 9,500

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