What can I say about this jacket, quite possibly the most iconic, and certainly one of the most sought after items of clothing from WW2. Designed in 1941 by the then Captain William P. Yarborough, Test Officer for the newly formed parachute divisions. The new jacket featured four pockets, each slanted to allow easy access when wearing all of the required parachute gear, and each pocket with both bellows and a second set of studs to allow for plenty of carrying space. The 8oz cotton twill would be very light, so light infact that following experience of use in North Africa and Italy, prior to the jump on D-Day, regiment riggers reinforced many with grey canvas around areas of wear. These jackets were only produced for a year or so between 1942-43, and would quickly be replaced by the m1943 field jacket, so examples are rare, and with the popularity of airborne/special forces collecting, one of the hardest pieces to find!
This particular jacket features a Crown main zipper, and both knife pocket zippers are Serval. The press studs are the early brass version, and it features khaki painted brass grommets in the armpits. The tag is in the pocket, but is well washed out.
More importantly however is the history. Written in the collar is the name Dan Bost, and a little research reveals a truly awesome story. Corporal Dan Robert Bost was born in June 1916, and lived in Michigan. He was registered for service in 1940 aged 26, and was enlisted March 42. He served as a rigger with the Service Company 505th PIR, and it's confirmed that he jumped on D-Day - for this refer to the 505th Rigger group image, whilst Bost isn't pictured, he's named as a D-Day jumper in the commentary. Also worth noting that these guys aren't wearing reinforced jackets, so there is a possibility Bost wore this jacket on D-Day. Likely he also jumped with the 505th on other drops in Italy, and Market Garden.
He was something known as the 82nd Airborne's 'ace jumper', and being happy under the canopy and would amass over 150 jumps, 30 of which were with the army. But it's for one jump, just after VE-Day that he would become legendary...
“During the festivities of the 82nd Airborne, and the Russian Fifth Guards Cossack Division, (after contact was made), following the surrender of the entire 21st German Army to the 82nd Airborne Division, three of the riggers grabbed the chance to make some exhibition jumps for the Russians. These men were Sgt. Walderman, Tec 4 Cook, and Tec 4 Dan Bost who is undoubtedly one of the most ‘jump happy’ persons in the world today. He has made over 150 jumps, over 40 of these in the Army; and 30 of these being static line jumps. As a civilian, Bost made exhibition jumps as the ‘Bat Man’ and as ‘Malfunction Drops’. After joining the Army, this well liked fellow became a fine soldier, an excellent combat photographer, and a good maintenance man. Flying to Ludwigslust, Germany these three made a couple of static line jumps. They then prepared to make the thrilling free jump for the Russians.
Climbing to the height of 2000 feet, in one of the ever present C-47’s, they jumped. Waldo and Cooky dropped further than usual for a free jump, but Dan wasn’t satisfied with this. He pulled his famous ‘Malfunction Drop’ by trailing a confiscated lace curtain above him. Using cool judgment and daring audacity he dropped to below 500 feet before opening his chute.; then landed easily, exactly in front of the Generals present. The famous Russian Cossack General, lieutenant General Tchuporkin, was so overcome by the extremely breathtaking feat that he rushed out onto the field. While Dan was still climbing out of his harness, the General kissed him on both cheeks, then pinned his own Russian Guard Medal, for bravery and excellance (sic), on his jump jacket. This was the first Russian medal ever presented to an 82nd Airborne Division man and is a just tribute to this outstanding person. Source: “82nd Airborne Division: 82nd Parachute Maintenance Company” Section 1 Unit History, Date unknown, p. 14.
There is a photo of Bost taken at just this moment being kissed by a Russian General. The story was also told in another unit history that I've provided an image of. Dan Bost would be awarded a Bronze Star. Dan would pass June 1978.
This is in beautiful condition. All zippers and poppers work perfectly, and the only damage is a very clean repair to the collar, and a small hole to the chest. The belt was missing when I got the jacket, and I've sourced the exact correct ww2 material and made a completely new one using the same pattern. It's identical to the original, and you cannot tell any difference. There are shadows of 82nd Airborne SSI and Corporal chevrons on the sleeve, I'll supply a deadstock set of these patches, and at the new owner's request will reattach them if desired for display. The tag is present and faintly visible.
- Tagged a 38R
- Fits a medium
- Pit to pit 21"
- Waist 36"
- Shoulder to shoulder 19"
- Shoulder to cuff 23"
- Collar to hem 28"