In 1935, a young Seattle based sportswear retailer and manufacturer would make an indelible mark on the fashion world when, following a fishing trip on which he nearly died of hypothermia, he made a quilted jacket from goose down. The young man was Eddie Bauer. The technique that he created, using pockets of lightweight, fast drying and heavily insulating feathers birthed a new type of jacket that would grow to become a world favourite.
This parka is an extremely rare example of one of Eddie's earliest designs. The patent for this, filed on the 26th July 1941, only a short few years after Eddie's first down jacket. Supposedly developed for Alaskan bush pilots - Joe Crosson, a famous bush pilot and Chief Pilot for Pacific Alaskan Airways was a fan - this parka would find itself in use with USAAF pilots during the 'Thousand-Mile War', the US push to retake the arctic Aleutian Islands.
There are many photos & even video of these being worn by USAAF crews in the Aleutians, notably with the 54th fighter squadron who flew P-38s, a member of which, Lt John K Geddes, gives the parka its nickname. But they were certainly used beyond this, I've found images of officers in Russia ferrying B-25s as part of the lend lease agreement, and even a B-17 captain boarding his aircraft.
The war would change Eddie's business dramatically. Initially contracted to supply down sleeping bags to the army, Eddie would also supply parkas to USAAF officers. So well liked were these jackets amongst aviators serving in the Aleutians that Eddie would help the USAAF develop the B-9 parka & A8 trousers as a suit, which would be standardised and introduced in July 1943. According to his biography, the inclusion of the logo on the label of these parka would massively grown the brand's awareness, and lead to a rapid postwar boom in Eddie Bauer's business.