WWII USAAF Issue Brown Goat Skin A-2 Flight Jacket Is A Scarce I. Spiewak & Sons Contract In Size 42. Grouping Is Named Via The Officer’s Overseas Cap To “Robert Geist.” Thanks to our buddy Andrew Harrison who conducted research on this name, we now believe that this COULD be Robert V. Geist of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Which stands to reason as this group was a “walk in” at the MAX Show in York, PA last year, which is quite close to Carlisle. Please see the link to his obituary at the end of this description. More research is needed to say whether or not this is definitely the same Robert Geist, but information provided in the obituary certainly points in that direction.
Left chest of jacket bears large, Australian made, embroidered wool felt 500th Bomb Squadron “Rough Raiders” Insignia with large, embroidered wool felt, Australian Made, 5th Air Force Insignia to right chest. The 500th Bomb Squadron, along with the 498th, 499th and 501st Bomb Squadrons composed the 5th Air Force’s 345th Bomb Group of “Air Apaches” Fame. The “Air Apaches” wreaked havoc on Japanese shipping in the South Pacific during WWII by flying B-25 “Mitchell” Bombers as fast attack aircraft. The details of their story can be found in the book, “Air Apaches” that you receive with this grouping. This Group Consists of The A2 Flight Jacket, First Issue 5th Air Force Unit History Entitled “The Menace From Moresby,” Cabinet Card Photo of USAAF Pilot whom we presume is Robert Geist, Named Officer’s Khaki Overseas Cap and A Handwritten Poem on The Back of A Piece of Heavy Card Stock. This entire grouping (Except for The “Air Apaches” Book) as previously stated, was a “walk-in” to a good friend of ours at last year’s MAX Show in York, PA. Our buddy was gracious enough to offer the group to us exactly as it walked in. The A-2, Unit History, Photo, Overseas Cap & Poem were all together when he took possession and remain exactly as they were when he turned it all over to us. We purchased the group with the high hopes of being able to conduct definitive research on the name in the overseas cap and provide everyone with the history of this pilot right here and now. With our limited resources and limited time, we were unable to link the name in the overseas cap to the group in any way, shape or form. It was not until this past weekend at the MAX Show when our buddy Andrew brought Robert V. Geist of Carlisle to our attention that we were able to connect this grouping to a specific individual on any way. We will now pass all of this information along with the group to someone else in hopes that they can fully determine if Robert V. Geist was the pilot who wore this jacket during WWII.
Well worn, heavily used A-2 shows clearly visible signs of age, wear, use, neglect and long term storage. Remains a complete, untouched, unaltered “survivor” example with its original cuffs, waistband, Crown zipper, liner, size tag and contract tag. Australian “Rough Raiders” Patch/Insignia shows age and wear with some visible light soiling and mothing, but remains in overall Good Condition. Australian made 5th Air Force Insignia/Patch Shows a bit more age and wear with some material loss to the wool felt as well as soiling, staining, moth damage and some missing stitching in the 10 to 12 o’clock position. We will say it is in Fair Condition. Cuffs and waistband show considerable mothing and damage as can be seen in the photos. Leather shows HEAVY wear to all the usual spots such as the elbows, upper shoulders and upper back. Right side shows considerably more wear than the left, which oftentimes is an indication that the wearer was a co-pilot, which Mr Geist’s obituary states that he was. There is also an approximately two inch long cut to the wrist area of the right sleeve. M41 Crown Zipper shows age and wear, but NO broken teeth. There is a lot of visible wear to the edge at the base of the zipper, so we have not made any attempt to zip it. Liner shows age, wear, soiling, staining and some separations to the stitching. Absolutely NO markings of any sort, anywhere to the liner. Contract tag and leather hanging tab remain in place. The 5th Air Force in WWII Unit History remains in Very Good Condition and is an excellent resource full of outstanding photos of the “Air Apaches” and other Bomb Groups in action. Very solid book with no loose pages, separations, water stains or splits in the seams. Cabinet card photo of WWII USAAF pilot remains very clear and bold with no blemishes at all. Cardboard frame shows age and wear and bears an Oakland, California photo gallery name. Khaki summer overseas cap shows age, wear and use with some light soiling and staining. Bears pin back Captain’s rank to left side. Interior bears what appears to be the handwritten name “ROBERT GEIST JR.” Handwritten poem was in the unit history along with the photo and discusses his “GI” everything. Ink appears to have been exposed to water and has run as can be seen in the photos. The “Air Apaches” book is brand new and had never been read. While this A2 is a far cry from being perfect or even in good condition, the connection to the “Rough Raiders” makes it a scarce item that along with the other items, makes for a good display. If you are better than we are at research and can link all of this to Robert Geist, then you just hit “Air Apaches” jackpot!
ROBERT V. “BOB” GEIST OBITUARY