I thought you all might like seeing an Ike jacket that was beautifully tailored to an observer who was shot down on his 48th mission in early 1945 over Austria, became a POW, and was released in May 1945. He remained in the USAF Reserves and was recalled for the Korean War, where he served as a bombardier. On his last mission, he was shot down during their return to base, and all onboard the aircraft were killed.
When he died, he left behind a widow and two young sons. The veteran's mother ended up taking care of his uniforms, medals, and letters (there were roughly 100 or so WW2 time period letters with this Ike jacket, I didn't include them in the photo.) She moved in with the veteran's brother (who had been a USAF pilot) and all of the items were moved to the brother's attic. The mom passed away and the brother's wife passed away shortly thereafter. He remarried and, as things would turn out, he passed away. His new wife then remarried and as time passed, both the new wife and her husband passed on. Their children ended up selling all of the items from the KIA brother at an estate sale, even though his widow and sons were (and still are) very much alive. However, they weren't notified that any of these items even existed, so they simply went about their lives.
I saw this group at the SOS being sold by a dealer who is one of the forum sponsors. Even though I don't particularly collect AAF items anymore, the group just "talked" to me, so I bought it. A little bit of sleuthing turned up both the sons, and after talking to one of them, I knew the group had to go back to the family (he never asked for it; just for copies of the letters.) I let them have it all for less than I paid for it, though it didn't matter...they were absolutely THRILLED to get it all, as these were the only military mementos that the family has, particularly poignant considering their dad gave his life for our country while in the military.
They received the group on Saturday, but before I packed it up, I snapped a couple of pictures with my phone so I could document the uniform and how truly nice it is. The jacket is US custom tailored, and named to the veteran. All of the insignia is Italian made. This is the first Italian made bullion observer wing I've ever seen, let alone owned, so I was really stoked to get the uniform just from that aspect. The rest of it is pretty incredible as well.
Without further ado...here's the Ike!