The A2 is the original from the collection of my friend. It was owned by Cpt. Ed Beethoven 74th FS/23rd FG/14th AAF flew P-51b Rose's Raider.
The 23rd Fighter Group was formed in July 1942 as part of the China Air
Task Force (CATF), marking the first such activation of a fighter group
on a field of battle in WWII. It was comprised of the three squadrons:
74th, 75th and 76th. Their aircraft were marked with the distinctive and
fearsome sharksmouths, and their mascot creature was the Flying Tiger.
Previously to that a small volunteer unit known as The American
Volunteer Group (the AVG - also known as the FLYING TIGERS) had been
hired by the Chinese government in their war against the Japanese.
Headed by the tenacious Brigadier General Claire Lee Chenault the AVG
soon gained notoriety with the Japanese for being a force to be reckoned
When the US entered the war proper the AVG were amalgamated into the
23rd Ftr Grp (which were part of the USAAF 14th Air Force), absorbing
many of the battle-hardened AVG pilots in doing so, and thus becoming an
even more formidable unit.
The 23rd Ftr Grp's combat record goes down in history as being one of
the most illustrious In the US Army Force, creating Aces such as the
great Don Lopez and David 'Tex' Hill.
Before returning to the United States in December 1945, the 23rd had
flown 24,000 combat sorties, requiring more than 53,000 flying hours,
and at a cost of 110 aircraft lost in aerial combat, 90 shot down by
surface defenses, and 28 bombed while on the ground. it was credited
- 621 enemy planes in air combat
- 320 enemy planes on the ground
- sinking more than 131,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaging 250,000 tons more
- enemy troop loss of more than 20,000
Our representation of a 23rd Ftr Grp jacket is based upon our Rough Wear
Clothing Company, 1401 contract, Type A-2. The RW 1401 is a suitable
candidate for this unit having been produced in the early part of 1942
and thus being available from when the 23rd was first activated.
We have then embellished the jacket with the appropriate insignia and
markings of the unit in exquisitely hand-made layered leather patches:
- 23rd Ftr Group unit patch to left breast
- CBI shield to left shoulder
- AAF roundel to right shoulder
- 23rd Ftr Grp stencil to lining
We cannot emphasize enough the degree of detailing and quality in these
jaw-dropping patches. Each piece is hand-cut and then sewn using minute
but accurate stitching - the 23rd patch alone comprises no less than 40
pieces of leather in it's construction.
The garment is finally given our TimeWorn® process with even greater
detailing than that of our regular finish, which renders the garment
with a stunning vintage patina that is unbelievably convincing.
The product is delivered to you in a custom-made, metal-edge, hard-card
box to treasure forever, and eventually hand-down to your next
generation - just like an original.