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Dec 7, 2012 1:07 PM by JD Downing

A brief history of WWII bomber jackets

In honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly has put together a fascinating and sobering article that both commemorates and explains why members of the US Army Air Corp were allowed to customize their bomber jackets to such outlandish and extreme degrees. The Army, not known for its lax uniform standards, allowed their air-bound servicemen to decorate their jackets with pictures of scantily clad pin-up girls, favorite comic characters, lucky charms, and any other assortment of icons. The reason, says historian John Conway, may have something to do with the age of these soliders - but also the tremendous risks they had to endure.

Indeed, most of these guys were just out of their teens, with some as young as 18 years old. And they ways in which they emblazoned their military issued leather A-2 jackets were a reflection of their age and exuberance. Hix writes:

On the bawdiest of these jackets, scantily clad babes gleefully ride phallic bombs. On others, cuddly cartoon characters charge forward, bombs in tow, driven by a testosterone-fueled determination to kill. Some jackets depict caricatures of Native Americans or Pacific Islanders, usually drawn with bones in their noses. Even rarer are those showing Hitler being humiliated-while the number of bombs designated missions flown, swastikas represented German aircrafts destroyed.

The fact that the Army would allow their servicemen to decorate their jackets with such provocative images isn't really that surprising. Army Air Corps duty was one of the most hazardous professions of World War II.

Be sure and check out the full article at io9.com.

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