USAAF Type A-2
Summer Flying Jacket
United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
Waxed Bronco Hide
Shipping Costs: $33.50
UPS Ground and insurance within the continental USA.
Gift Certificates Available
Prices subject to change with out notice
|Due to popular customer demand for the Buzz Rickson’s Bronco-Hide A-2 Jackets previously offered by us, we are now introducing yet another new style to wow our customers! This A-2 Jacket masterpiece is the result of a collaborative effort between Buzz Rickson’s and History Preservation Associates and is also a limited edition: There will not be any future repeat productions of this A-2 style beyond our current stock.|
The A-2 Jacket was standardized by the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1931, being the direct descendant of the A-1 jacket from 1927. The A-2 experienced several spec. changes during it’s small production quantities of the pre-war years before culminating in the final variant that was the subject of the largest production runs during the 1942-44 period of WWII. Immediate popularity followed the A-2, becoming as much a cherished icon of the U. S. Army aviator as his silver wings. The A-2 Jacket was so popular that non-flying personnel would beg, bribe and steal to get their hands on one. Non-flying senior generals such as Patton and MacArthur had A-2 jackets, and every officer in the elite airborne units managed to cut unofficial deals with the USAAF to obtain this jacket they had no right to have, enhancing their own distinctive status as much as furthering the heroic, magical and unobtainable aura of the A-2. But it was the dashing, leather-clad U. S. Army aviators wearing the A-2 on every front of every combat theater in every aircraft type in every battle of WWII, who played the largest role in turning this jacket into a tangible and instantaneously recognizable symbol of the ultimate romantic hero of the 20th century. After the war ended, the A-2 got a second life in the surplus stores of the time; motorcyclists, private pilots and Hollywood he-men carried on where the wartime veterans left off. Perhaps no better Hollywood image of the A-2 jacket exists than that seen in the classic adventure film, “The Great Escape,” worn by the “king of cool” - the late actor Steve McQueen in his role as Virgil Hilts. The undying popularity of the A-2 spawned its official reintroduction into the USAF in 1987, although this latter-day USAF version was but a woeful, pale imposter of those from the production years of the old Army Air Corps. From the time the last Army Air Corps A-2 left the contractor’s factory, no single jacket has had as much influence on American fashion, nor has any other jacket been as sought after or reproduced as has this utilitarian design of more than 70 years ago. Unquestionably, the A-2 jacket has gained rightful fame as an all-time American classic, internationally recognized as something as unique to our country as the cowboy hat, and without peer in foreign cultures. If ever a garment deserved to be called iconic, it would have to be the A-2 Jacket.
This Buzz Rickson’s A-2 jacket is a copy of those original A-2 Jackets produced by the United Sheeplined Clothing Co. of Long Branch, New Jersey under Air Corps Purchase Order 42-18777, and as such it exhibits important details that help differentiate one original A-2 contractor and contract from another – details synonymous with the pedigree of historical accuracy found in the goods we offer, including for this United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2 the following: Correct features of an early-production A-2 from this contractor including a russet-colored horsehide shell and a leather hanger sewn into the neck area that partially obscures the top lines of text on the neck label vs. the leather hangers found on most A-2 Jackets where the hanger is sewn above the top of the neck label. Other distinctive features of United Sheeplined A-2’s have, of course, been correctly duplicated including the pocket flap, collar and epaulette shape and size with contractor-specific stitching on epaulets, beveled lower corners on pockets, small ring-style press studs, seam widths, nicely squared shoulders, construction with all-cotton thread in contrasting light-shade olive drab, mid-brown lining, and knit parts dyed to the darker brown typical of United Sheeplined A-2 Jackets. Original A-2 Jackets produced by United Sheeplined Clothing Co. are quite rare today in the community of flying jacket collectors, due to the relatively small number produced by this contractor during WWII.
This A-2 just looks incredibly cool, rugged and vintage the first time you put it on, thanks to Buzz Rickson’s unique aniline-dying process with hand-rubbed wax incorporated in the final phase, and their exclusive fully vegetable-tanned ”Bronco Hide.” A nicely aged vintage A-2 jacket will often reveal a mottled finish with the lighter-colored natural leather showing through over most of the entire jacket, which is due to a thin, hasty top coat of lacquer-based darker dye having been worn off with use. Buzz Rickson’s employs an aniline dye process that exquisitely duplicates this same look since the old lacquer-type dyes can no longer be employed due to environmental restrictions. Once dying is complete, the master tanners at Buzz Rickson’s work hand-applied wax into the hides for this particular A-2 Jacket copy, which creates a deeper depth of color and contrast between light and dark mottled areas and greater luster, thus enhancing characteristics of age and wear from use so this A-2 will look like a combat veteran from day one, and also renders a significantly more comfortable A-2 out of the box vs. the stiffer feeling and longer break-in periods typically associated with horsehide that is fully vegetable tanned. And the overall appearance of the leather would not be anywhere near as authentic and beautiful if not for the exclusive “Bronco Hide” developed by Buzz Rickson’s.
The “Bronco Hide” is a result of years of costly research in obtaining a rugged horsehide featuring uneven, deep-seated broken lines of all-natural grain typical of what can be found on many vintage A-2’s. The hides are all sourced from the best leather country in the world – Italy- where a preeminent tannery selects only the best-of-the-best leathers (for this A-2 the hides are 1.1mm in thickness), then vegetable tanned in such a way as to bring out the natural grain inherent in the horsehide. During the processing, the tannery has found a way to make the horsehide more soft and pliant, making these Buzz Rickson’s A-2’s incredibly comfortable right out of the box, then continuing to gain suppleness with each wearing, all the while maintaining the correct drape of an original A-2 Jacket. And these A-2’s get better looking with use as the patina of wear continues to mount from the natural abrasions the hide develops while being enjoyed by you. Yes, Buzz Rickson’s may well have come up with the ultimate horsehide on the ultimate A-2 Jacket reproduction money can buy.
Please note these authentic features:
• Copy of original-style maker’s label design produced on a vintage shuttle loom and that bears the name of the original contractor – United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
• All-cotton thread construction in contrasting olive drab as found on most A-2 flying jackets originally produced under Purchase Order 42-18777 by United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
• 1.1mm thick, vegetable-tanned, aniline-dyed horsehide imported from Italy with what can be argued as the best vintage patina available today, featuring Buzz Rickson’s unique hand-waxed process matching the look of many nicely aged A-2’s made by United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
• Single-piece back as found on all vintage original A-2 jackets
• Collar assembly following the simplified style adopted for the mass production of 1942-44, exactly as found on the majority of vintage A-2‘s originally produced during WWII and correct for a United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2 of this contract
• Custom manufacturing of the correct weight and weave 100% cotton inner lining fabric to precisely match 1940’s USAAF specs. and dyed medium brown to match original vintage A-2’s of this contract; the density and tightness of the weave of the lining may well be the most accurate of any reproduction A-2 made today
• Metal collar clip custom manufactured to the original USAAF spec. featuring the raised bend at mid-section with reversed backing plates, both of which are correct for United Sheeplined Clothing Co., and finished in correct semi-matte nickel plating
• Smaller ring-style press studs precisely matching those found on original United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2’s
• Shoulder straps typifying the shape, size and stitch style found on original A-2’s produced by United Sheeplined Clothing Co., including the joining seam hidden under the epaulets where front and back panels meet; most vintage A-2’s have this seam located behind the epaulets
• Two snap-down exterior pockets with stitching and pocket configuration typifying the style found on original United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2’s, most notably including the lower pocket corners cut at 45-degree angles
• Snap-down collar typifying the shape, size and stitch style found on original United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2’s
• USAAF authentic inspector’s decal in off-white applied to reverse side of wind flap
• Correct to this A-2 contractor, a cotton label with lot and size printed in deep blue appears in the pocket
• The Army-Navy inspector-assigned number Z22 ink stamped in the lining as is typical for United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2’s
• Custom manufacturing of two-ply super heavy-weight 100% worsted-wool knit cuffs and waist skirt in a dark brown color, with cuffs correctly graduating from a wider weave into a more-narrow weave, exactly matching those found on original United Sheeplined Clothing Co. A-2’s. These knit parts won’t stretch out from normal wear!
• Heavy leather hanging loop correctly sewn directly through the jacket lining and outer leather shell using a box stitch and located directly over top the first two lines of text on the neck label as per vintage A-2’s produced by United Sheeplined Clothing Co.
Sizes available: Fitting up to 42" chest measure.
Buzz Rickson’s products are imported from Japan.