A-2 Painted Flight Jackets

The Mary Alice was named for the pilot’s mother.  A B-17 was painted with Mary Alice’s nose art as a display for the Imperial Air Museum, Duxford, England. 

The b&w photo of the jacket hasn’t had any mission marks added yet. The color photo of the jacket has the crew members mission marks and a kill mark for the attacking Me-410 it shot down on a mission over Dessau, Germany

Der Grossarschvogel is listed as the name of an B-17 with the 401st BG. Translated it means, “The Big Butt Bird”. The plane also used the name, “You All Right”.  Some planes had more than one name, they were renamed by new crews or they had a right side and a left side name painted on.

Der Grossarschvogel is listed as the name of an B-17 with the 401st BG. Translated it means, “The Big Butt Bird”. The plane also used the name, “You All Right”.  Some planes had more than one name, they were renamed by new crews or they had a right side and a left side name painted on.

"Baby Lu" aka "Grin ‘n Bare It"  612th BS, 401st BG, 8th AF
Flew 109 missions and survived the war. The right side of the aircraft had, Grin’n Bare It, painted on it and the left side Baby Lu.  The flight jackets for the crews had either logo and each crew member had a different pin-up girl.

Heaven Sent was a B-17 with the 100th bomb Group, 350th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force, the groups nickname was the Bloody Hundredth.

The nose artist was Michael Garemko.  Michael Garemko entered the Royal Canadian Air Force in early 1941 and was sent by train to Toronto for basic training at Mannign Depot. He was going through advanced training in Winnipeg, Manitoba in early 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He never completed pilot training in RCAF but transferred to USAAF and went to Officer Cadet Pilot Training. He washed out as a pilot and without a college degree, he could not qualify for Bombardier or Navigational training. His love of the air kept him in the Air Corps and he went to Gunnery training/Engineering School. He became a TTE and flew on "Heaven Sent" and completed 34 Missions. Garemko and Sgt. Frank Stevens were also responsible for painting the aircraft nose art and A-2 jackets for the 100th.

The 409th flew the A-20 “Havoc” light bomber and Douglas A-26 “Invader” medium bomber and was originally trained in low-level attack missions. However, the group was busy flying medium-altitude bombing runs from 10,000 ft. Over 100 missions were flown by the group, attacking coastal defences, V-weapon sites, aerodromes, and other targets in France in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. The group supported ground forces during the Battle of Normandy by hitting gun batteries, rail lines, bridges, communications, and other objectives. During July 1944, aided the Allied offensive at Caen and the breakthrough at Saint-Lô with attacks on enemy troops, flak positions, fortified villages, and supply dumps.

Wilber Gooder’s A-2 jacket, he served with the 461st bomb group, attached to the 15th AAF.

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“Lil’ Audrey” Crew shown before flying their final mission.

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“Lil’ Audrey” Crew shown before flying their final mission.

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Captain Jack Ilfrey’s nickname was Happy Jack, which is where the name of his P-38J-15-LO Lightning got it’s name “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy” from. Ilfrey was a member of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group during the Second World War in the ETO and was one of the more unique men of the war. While on his first of two combat tours in Europe, serving with the 1st Fighter Group, he caused an international incident when he landed his P-38 in nuetral Portugal, low on fuel. He (somehow) managed to talk the Portuguese into giving him enough fuel to finish his trip and took off. However, following proper procedure, all aircrew and ships that land in a neutral country during a time of war are supposed to be interned till the end of hostilities. This broke neutrality laws of war, and his leaving caused a big fluster. The US State Department was going to send him back to Portugal in an attempt to make things right, but General Jimmy Doolittle (the man behind the Doolittle Raid) intervened and smoothed things over. That wasn’t the end of the man’s rather unique and checkered service record: During one of his first dogfights, he had over four feet of the right wing of his P-38 sheared off by an ME-109 he had been dogfighting. While the German pilot didn’t survive the collision, Ilfrey managed to fly his badly crippled plane back to base and fight another day. In another incident, he was busted down to 2nd Lt. after the celebration for his promotion to Major got slightly out of hand on base. Ilfrey was acting CO of the 79th Fighter Squadron at the time, giving him the claim of fame of being the only 2nd Lt. to command a combat fighter squadron in the USAAF. Ilfrey took large risks when others wouldn’t as well. He landed his P-51 Mustang behind enemy lines in Holland simply to pick up his downed wingman when he was ordered not too. Both of the men managed to squeeze into the plane’s cockpit for the short flight to Brussels, Belgium. He was also shot down during a strafing mission over France on June 13, 1944. With a lot of help from the French Maquis, Ilfrey managed to make over 200 miles back to Allied lines dressed as a French farmer.

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Captain Jack Ilfrey’s nickname was Happy Jack, which is where the name of his P-38J-15-LO Lightning got it’s name “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy” from. Ilfrey was a member of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group during the Second World War in the ETO and was one of the more unique men of the war.

While on his first of two combat tours in Europe, serving with the 1st Fighter Group, he caused an international incident when he landed his P-38 in nuetral Portugal, low on fuel. He (somehow) managed to talk the Portuguese into giving him enough fuel to finish his trip and took off. However, following proper procedure, all aircrew and ships that land in a neutral country during a time of war are supposed to be interned till the end of hostilities. This broke neutrality laws of war, and his leaving caused a big fluster. The US State Department was going to send him back to Portugal in an attempt to make things right, but General Jimmy Doolittle (the man behind the Doolittle Raid) intervened and smoothed things over.

That wasn’t the end of the man’s rather unique and checkered service record: During one of his first dogfights, he had over four feet of the right wing of his P-38 sheared off by an ME-109 he had been dogfighting. While the German pilot didn’t survive the collision, Ilfrey managed to fly his badly crippled plane back to base and fight another day. In another incident, he was busted down to 2nd Lt. after the celebration for his promotion to Major got slightly out of hand on base. Ilfrey was acting CO of the 79th Fighter Squadron at the time, giving him the claim of fame of being the only 2nd Lt. to command a combat fighter squadron in the USAAF.

Ilfrey took large risks when others wouldn’t as well. He landed his P-51 Mustang behind enemy lines in Holland simply to pick up his downed wingman when he was ordered not too. Both of the men managed to squeeze into the plane’s cockpit for the short flight to Brussels, Belgium. He was also shot down during a strafing mission over France on June 13, 1944. With a lot of help from the French Maquis, Ilfrey managed to make over 200 miles back to Allied lines dressed as a French farmer.

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“Sweet and Lovely”Boeing B-17F-115-BO Flying Fortress, Serial: 42-30721533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force
After  27 combat missions with the 381st this plane was transfered to use for  radio-relay operations for the 65th Fighter Wing. The plane would orbit  over the English Channel and transfer radio messages to Air/Sea Rescue  from aircrews in trouble. The plane was painted in special recognition  markings, red and white stripes that were similar to those used for the  D-Day invasion.

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“Sweet and Lovely”
Boeing B-17F-115-BO Flying Fortress, Serial: 42-30721
533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force

After 27 combat missions with the 381st this plane was transfered to use for radio-relay operations for the 65th Fighter Wing. The plane would orbit over the English Channel and transfer radio messages to Air/Sea Rescue from aircrews in trouble. The plane was painted in special recognition markings, red and white stripes that were similar to those used for the D-Day invasion.

Mrs Aldaflak was a popular play on words for flight crews dodging flak.

The jacket with the pin-up girl is an example of a sewn on applique.  The pin-up either came from a damaged, previously painted jacket or a separately painted piece of leather.  It was not uncommon for local artisans to paint ‘nose art’ on leather and sell them to flight crews, who would have them sewn on their own jackets. The jacket in the b&w photo has a large space between Mrs Aldaflak and his home state of Rhode Island.  It might have been left blank to be painted later, or have a painted applique sewn on.