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WWII A-2 B-17 Ball Gunner Painted Jacket 8th AF 457th BG 748thBS 30 Missions & D-DAY


mds308
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Just received.  This is awesome.  The jacket was made by the Cable Raincoat Company in 1942.  I believe horsehide.  The jacket belonged to Herbert Lee Webster service number 32839022.  He flew all his missions (30 or 31) with the 748th Bombardment Squadron under the 457th Bombardment Group which was attached to the 8th Air Force.  His gravesite claims he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  I don't know what other awards he received.  The front of the jacket has a painted patch for the 457th BG.  The patch has lost most of its colors.  The name Herb is painted on the front and beneath this is the word Dot.  I'm guessing Dot was his nickname.  As in "No bigger than a dot."  Or perhaps it was his ladies name short for Dottie.  The right shoulder has a painted triangle with a U inside.  This was for the 1st Bomb Wing/1st Air Div 457th BG.  There is a B-17 starboard side view painted on the back.  The plane is identified as the WAR EAGLE.  I was unable to find any ship with this name for this Squadron.  The numbers on the tail of the painted plane are 297087 (actually 42-97087).  These numbers come back to a B-17 nicknamed TUJUNGA!   Of the 30 or 31 missions flown by Sgt Webster, 9 of them were on the Tujunga (30%).  His last flight on the Tujunga was 24 July 1944 and the Tujunga was shot down due to flak over Munich 31 July 1944.  Obviously, he was not aboard.  Seven were killed and three became POW's.  He flew on two other planes lost in combat.  42-97088 No Name and 42-07558 Tis Me Sugar.  There were two other planes he flew on with no nicknames and the others with handles were Homesick Angel, El Lobo, I Pana Smile, Hitler's Milkman, TARFU and the OH Kay.  All this information came from the 457th BG Website.  He flew the majority of his missions in the ball turret with pilot Edward A. Taylor and Walter F. Creigh as co-pilot.  His 8th mission was Arromanches Beach 06 June 1944 better known as D-Day.  The jackets condition is stellar but it may need some conservation.  I will not touch it.  There is some cloudy white (mold?) areas.  The back looks like it was painted once before then updated.  You can see the shadows from a previous painting for the WAR EAGLE.  I was wondering if the WAR EAGLE became the Tujunga but I have been unable to prove this.  I've done a ton of homework and still searching for more information.  Perhaps aznation can lend a hand. 

 

IMG_6555.JPG.e02c95c1d90d7d87299799bb25b0111a.JPG IMG_6553.JPG.5bd644c7616f019272660f2110e5676f.JPGIMG_6554.JPG.c38864a278a26fe4c4dc1c51d226e09f.JPGIMG_6555.JPG.e02c95c1d90d7d87299799bb25b0111a.JPGIMG_6556.JPG.059d056e6cdf49cd0ca36788f9a56226.JPGIMG_6557.JPG.990bf0548dba9cd0fc795e0c5f92bd37.JPGIMG_6558.JPG.625348afd5f9770edef77d42aabfa940.JPGIMG_6559.JPG.58babe0586db016b227318df4f38aef4.JPGIMG_6560.JPG.0de693de72a1d3f734cabf2307b4e0fa.JPGIMG_6562.JPG.676caba37277780132fd4c1c93104fde.JPG

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This is a really nice A-2  When you find out more information, please update this thread.  I think this is going to reveal some interesting information regarding Sgt. Webster.

Gregg

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  • 4 weeks later...
phantomfixer

Man how did I miss this post...great jacket...Just my opinion, but I think War Eagle was moved post combat tour to allow for the missions flown...(?)

 

good research and history....fabulous artwork on the back...

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This is Johnny Signor's unfaded replica of the patch that looks like it would have been attached on the front there...2030304649_457thBombardmentGroup(3).jpg.ad46e1776c42e7719b4c2d8cd824bcee.jpg.b5cec56fabaa0ff87ecfc10b3acbbebc.jpg

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The only thing new I can add is I believe DOT was his wife's name and not his nickname.  Matt (aznation) has always helped me with my research and since he's been out I haven't had much success on my own.  When I know more I'll post more.  Thanks to all for your input.  

 

Godspeed Matt.

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