The Type A-2 flying jacket was adopted as standard issue by the U.S. Army Air Corps as the successor to the Type A-1 flying jacket on May 9, 1931. Quite similar in construction to the A-1, it replaced the A-1's buttoned front and pocket flaps with a zipper and hidden snap fasteners, although the first three A-2 contracts retained the pocket buttons. Stitched-down shoulder straps were also added to the design. The A-1's stand-up knitted collar, which buttoned closed, was supplanted in the A-2 by a shirt-style leather collar, with hidden snaps at the points and a hook-and-eye latch at the throat.
The April 1944 USAAF catalog for ordering supplies lists the A-2 for $ 8.12. A-2’s were initially constructed of horsehide, which was either vegetable- or chrome-tanned. Some later A-2's were made from goatskin and others from cowhide. The A-2 was one of the early pieces of clothing designed to use a zipper. The company Talon provided most zippers used in wartime A-2 construction.
A-2 jackets issued during the war appear in a rather wide range of color tones and hues, although all are based on two distinct colors: Seal (a dark brown to almost black color) and russet (pale red-brown, raw sienna to medium brown). Most lighter russet jackets were usually re-dyed in seal during the war to cover scuffing and discoloration. Original knit cuffing typically tried to match the leather or at least tried to come close, exceptions exist however (just like the one shown here in raw sienna).
The original A-2 looks like a rather trim-fitting jacket. Photos and films from the war era reveal a jacket which could be worn fitted and sharp looking or a bit baggy and loose in the body. It was designed to fit the thinner male of the time. Original A-2 jackets when worn by modern men may seem a bit snug, particularly in the shoulders.
The A-2 jacket was awarded to an Army Air Forces officer upon completion of basic flight training, and always before graduating to advanced training. A-2s were exclusive to commissioned officers until early in World War II, when also issued to enlisted aircrews. To the airman the A-2 was a treasured item and was worn with as much pride as his wings. Production went on going well into 1944. It was impossible to prevent airmen from continuing to obtain and wear the style (photos clearly showing Korean War pilots still wearing the original A-2 issued to them a decade earlier, or newer jackets made to fit their current sizes).
The artisans at The Real McCoy’s have handcrafted this beautiful A-2 reproduction. Made of Japanese Shinki vegetable tanned horsehide leather, cotton broad cloth lining, 40’s Talon front zipper and 100% wool ribbing. A truly unique and wonderful jacket! Made in Japan. Click on the check the fit button for all size info.
Made in Japan.