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photos copyright ©2006-2017 by Ed Nored, used by permission
Flight Gear 1944-1945 / F-3 Heated Suit Headgear / Oxygen Masks / Boots Flak Vests / Helmets / Misc
Parachutes 1943-1945 "Little Friends" Fighter Pilot Gear Dressing for a Mission
(3-1) Page 2 from the F-2 Heated Suit Instruction Booklet. Compare to the photo below.
(3-2) Above is a recreation of the illustration found in the F-2 Instruction Booklet. I have left out the wool shirt and long underwear. Also, where the A-12 mittens are shown, I used the more correct A-9 mittens. The A-12 mittens may have been a mistake of the creator of the booklet since in the F-3 Booklet they show the A-12 mittens, but describe them as the A-9
(3-3) The photo above shows the connecting points from the F-2 pants to the inside of the F-2 jacket.
(3-4) Here is an original "Air Poster" from the "Training Aids Division" dated July 1944. Many posters were created, and then posted where air crews would be assembling. Shown below the poster is an example of where the air crew plugged in their heated suits. It is also depicted in the poster. The small F-2 pamphlet is shown as well as another pair of A-6 boots (not previously photographed) with leather name tags and other F-2 components you should be well acquainted with by now.
(3-5) Above on the left is a 100% complete F-2 heated jacket liner. It's a very hard item to find with its wires and connectors all intact. Most have been "demilled," de-militarized or gutted, of its wiring. The F-2 jacket liner on the right (missing 2 buttons) has been demilled. I have also noticed that for F-2 liners the buttons are inside but on the F-2A liners the buttons are on the outside
(3-6) Shown above are two examples of F-2 outer jackets for officers, based on the material from which they were made. An excellent 303rd BG photo showing crew members wearing examples shown above and below are on Lead Crew #265. Sometimes officers wore F-2 jackets that had white shearling collars. See the excellent photo on Lead Crew Mission #323 and look at 2Lt Caldwell. You can't define rank based on the collars presence or absence. I have seen photos of officers wearing the lighter shade EM grade F-2. I think in many cases men were issued what was available and what would fit them correctly. Lead Crew Mission #251 shows an example of an officer, 2Lt Morrow, and enlisted man T/Sgt Tambe wearing the F-2 heated suit with shearling collars.
(3-7) Shown above are two examples of the F-2 outer jacket for the enlisted men, based on the material and, in the case of the one on the right, its color. An example of one of the 303rd men wearing the lighter shade F-2 and the F-2 felt boots can be seen in this photo of a wounded man on a stretcher.
(3-8) Shown above are three examples of ID markings found on the F-2 jackets. On the far left is a white cloth name tag with name stenciled. On the remaining two, numbers have been painted on to keep track of the item.
(3-9) Shown above are two recently acquired examples of painted markings on the F-2 outer jackets. Notice the fading image of an Army Air Force wing and star stamped on the shoulder of the jacket on the right. This is the first F-2 outer jacket I have seen with this on it.
(3-10) Shown here are two more examples of ID markings used on the F-2 pants. Also notice the label for the heated liner for the pants and another label for the outer pants. Note how the heated pant liner is buttoned into the outer pants. As far as I can determine, the black and white suspenders are the more correct ones for the F-2.
(3-11) Shown above are two examples of heated shoes. The one on the right is very rare. I have been collecting since 1995 and saw this bootie for the first time in late 2008. It is one of the first heated shoe inserts that was issued with the F-2 heated uniform. The one on the left is the most common one found today. It is intended for use with the F-2 and F-3 heated suit. The construction on the first issued heated shoe is considerably nicer then the later one.
(3-12) Compare the two booties above. The early F-2 shoe on the right was made by the United Thermo-Stable Corp. The bootie for both the F-2 and F-3 heated suit was made by General Electric. Both companies also made the F-2 and F-3 heated suits during the war.
(3-13) Shown above is a complete pair of the early F-2 heated inserts.
(3-15) The cord used to plug into the extension cord (not shown) and then into the plane is the same in all 3 heated suits. Shown left to right are the F-1, F-2 and F-3.
(3-16) The connector to the gloves has torn loose on one of the sleeves on an F-2 heated jacket and I'm able to show you the wired liner inside. As you can see, the wires are themselves sewn into a white material that make up another jacket all its own. Think about the production cost on this suit. Quite impressive!
(3-17) Top left is another example of the A-6 boot compared to the F-2 felt boot. This A-6 boot is made by the Bristolite Company. The F-2 boot is made by the Little Falls Felt Shoe Company. I have seen examples of the F-2 boot with the AAF logo applied. Examples of the F-2 boot being worn can be seen at Lead Crew #325 on 2Lt Mauger. On Lead Crew #334, T/Sgt Bostick is wearing a B-10 over his F-3 suit and F-2 boots. See the glove connector hanging from the cuff. The 3rd example is of T/Sgt Joe Vieira, shown here in his first tour on Lead Crew Mission #126, and during his second tour on Lead Crew Mission #345. In the Feb. 6, 1944 photo of the 358th M.L. Smith Crew, we see three men wearing the F-2 heated suits. Two men wear the F-2 boots. Also note the three men with the zippered type parachute first aid kit.
(3-18) Shown above is the heated shoe insert placed inside the F-2 boot. Note the shoe label and label on the insert. A crew member wearing the shoe is the 358th Worthley crew. See the second man from right, kneeling. Major Charles Kerwin is wearing the F-2 boot in the lead crew photo for Mission #350. Also note the story of the Major's baby shoes.
(3-19) The uniform shown above is based on T/Sgt Joe Vieira in Lead Crew Mission #267. It shows the F-2 uniform with a light summer weight AN-H-15 flight helmet with either B-7 or AN-6530 goggles. The two types of goggles are nearly identical. In the crew shot of Vieira, the bag at his feet is the M-1936 Musette bag. This photo includes a navigator's briefcase. T/Sgt Joe Vieira flew two tours and it is worthwhile doing a search of this man's record here at the 303rd site.