Who "invented" the A2?? (Ben Willis??)

Discussion in 'Repros' started by regius, May 7, 2017.

  1. regius

    regius Member

    Just got this NWT goatskin A2 by Willis Geiger. Mint condition. Saw this timeline printed on the tag, very intriguing.
    1902-Ben Willis developed clothing for his arctic explorations
    1931-Awarded U.S.Army Air Corps contract for A-2 flight jacket.
    1941-Outfitted American volunteer group the Flying Tiger fight in China.

    Any of this is true? How was Ben Willis involved in the design of the A2 (or A1)?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. regius

    regius Member

  3. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    There is no evidence that W&G were awarded any military contracts for A2 jackets, apart from the 1988 modern A2 for the USAF. The first pre-War contract was awarded to Security Aviation Togs and here is the full list of contracts and W&G does not feature at all.


    They made Naval flyng jackets not USAAF A2s in the War and yes many of the Flying Tigers wore M422 jackets and W&G were awarded the first contract for them in 1940 fiscal year.
  4. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    yeah andrew has it right. w&g hooey. a-2s evolved out of a-1s, which in turn, evolved out of both american team sports warm up jackets and mc type [menlo-cossack] jackets of the early 20th century
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  5. regius

    regius Member

    In the VICE article, this "explorer" Avedon spoke of him seeing another manufacturer's A2, who was awarded an 80s contract, and said it's a piece of crap. Who might that be? Cooper? I'm not saying Cooper or Orchard's products are crap, but this statement says more about this explorer, who had a princess for a wife. Sounds typical of the kind of business person who's pissed that their thing didn't work out.
  6. SuinBruin

    SuinBruin Active Member

    Burt Avedon is almost certainly a fabulist. He claims to have been in the AVG (at the ripe old age of 18), to have fought on the ground at Iwo Jima, to have been an ace, etc.

    Check out page 2 -- 18 years old & in the AVG!

    Not on the roster, though? Weird.

    He also claims to be an ace with 13 victories (see page 12), but doesn't show up on any ace roster for the Navy in WWII. (Doesn't show up on any for Korea, either, probably because there was only one, whose name wasn't Burt Avedon.)

    Also, he was apparently playing baseball at UCLA in 1944. Awkward timing for a fighter ace who would be getting his face in the sand just a few months later at Iwo, no?

    I recall reading a few years ago another interview with Avedon where he detailed his involvement at Iwo Jima, supposedly as a ground observer or spotter for the air support, but of course having to pick up a rifle, etc. I can't find it now, which means I either hallucinated it (possible), or it's been scrubbed from the net. Anyway, the Vice article linked to above restates the claim, so there it is. In any case, I don't think there's any way to square the tale(s) that Avedon has told, so I'd take anything he or his company says with respect to the A-2 with a big grain of salt.
  7. tibor

    tibor Active Member

    "A fabulist" is the most elegant description of outlandish bs that I've ever heard. My compliments SuinBruin for your restraint. Doesn't anybody at that museum believe in fact checking? :(
    bretron likes this.
  8. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

    Who "invented" the A2?? / back to the original question who made the first one that was offered for consideration to the USAAF . Did the first design go through many changes before it was adopted . How many other designs were offered and by whom is this known ? .Its an interesting jacket in the fact it did not do the job ,and was replaced by Hap Arnold for as his put it something better and along came the B10 which offered warmth neck and body . But the flyboys still wanted the A2 jacket so if it was not available they had it made locally post 43 . So do we have a linage of how who what and where of the birth of the A-2 Type ? .

  9. bretron

    bretron Member

    Cascadia, USA
    I'm totally borrowing that phrase- thx @SuinBruin !!
  10. 2jakes

    2jakes Member

    Elysian Fields
    I was curious so I went on the “search engine” and found this:

    Also went to HATHI TRUST (digital library)
    I entered : U.S. Army Air Forces Class 13 Catalog and this came up.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017

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