March 2015: A symbol of the American pilot and worn by service members, presidents and celebrities alike, the classic A-2 leather bomber jacket is perhaps the most reproduced leather flight jacket ever made.
The historical WWII flight jacket was originally issued by the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1931 and was worn by the allied pilots who flew missions over wartime terrain. An officer was awarded his A-2 jacket after completing basic flight training and wore it with as much pride as his wings.
Distinguishing design characteristics of the iconic A-2 leather bomber include a wind flap, front zipper with storm flap, knit cuffs and waistband, epaulets, snap-flap patch pockets on either side, hidden snap-down collar points, a back constructed from a single piece of leather and a lightweight inner lining with a leather hang strap.
While it was originally made of seal brown horsehide leather, shortages during WWII resulted in the A-2 being made of more readily available materials like goatskin and cowhide. As a popular means of self-expression during the war, airmen often attached leather squadron patches, rank marks and insignias as they progressed through various duty stations. Some even painted elaborate designs directly onto the leather depicting the type of aircraft they flew or copying the artwork their plane.
Despite the fact that the A-2 was only issued by the USAAF until 1943 (when it was replaced by the cotton B-10), its immense popularity among airmen meant some pilots continued wearing their A-2’s through the Korean War in the 1950s. Alpha’s A-2 Deco Leather Jacket is a modern-day reproduction of the classic A-2 leather bomber that features an embroidered Thunderbird chest patch and a Korean War-style blood chit printed on the lining. This historic notice was a message in several languages that identified the airman carrying it as a U.S. aviator and offered a reward for assistance in returning him to U.S. Forces.
Alpha Industries never made the official A-2 for the military, but began making a reproduction in 2001. The A-2 Goatskin Leather Jacket is our own version of the legendary leather pilot’s jacket featuring all of the authentic details and made from 100% genuine leather.