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A Jacket That Could Save Your Life...
By AlphaNews
6/21/2016 10:05:00 AM

One of Alpha's most popular jackets, the MA-1 Blood Chit, and its lightweight counterpart, the L-2B Dragonfly Blood Chit, is also one of the most unique due to its distinctive lining. In addition to the emergency orange lining, an image of the American flag and a message written in several languages can be seen. This image is of a Blood Chit, or a written notice carried by air crews in the event that they were shot down or otherwise separated from their squadron. The main purpose of the Blood Chit is to identify the serviceman as an American, and to encourage the local population to assist them.

The concept of the Blood Chit is almost as old as the United States itself. in 1793, a French balloonist named Jean-Pierre Blanchard came to America to demonstrate hot air balloon flight. Starting in Philadelphia, Blanchard had no idea where he would eventually land, and did not speak any English. President George Washington gave Blanchard a letter, which asked anyone who came across Blanchard to assist him in arriving back in Philadelphia.

blood chit

This idea was seen again in "ransom notes" used by British RAF pilots flying over India and Mesopotamia in World War I. Written in the indigenous languages of the area, the notes promised a reward for anyone who helped return a downed pilot to a British outpost.

During World War II, the U.S. began issuing Blood Chits as a standard practice to pilots and air crews. The Blood Chits came in over 50 different languages, and promised a monetary reward for anyone who helped safely return a downed American pilot or crew. For certain missions, pilots carried a packet that contained the Blood Chit as well as paper money and coins, as an extra incentive for a citizen to offer assistance. It was common practice by this time for Blood Chit to be sewn into actual jackets, making them less likely to become lost in the event of a crash. 

Today, Blood Chits are premade in dozens of languages and are given to pilots, members of the Special Forces, and others who are deemed High Risk of Isolation.

Want to learn more? Check out an extended history of the Blood Chit here

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