Exceptionally Rare John Gilpin Bright Group (“Flying Tigers” Ace)

Exceptionally Rare and Historic John Gilpin Bright Group (“Flying Tigers”Ace).

Group includes named flight jacket and named custom-made officer’s chocolate ike-style jacket.

Flight jacket presents in good condition with honest wear. Right breast of jacket bears the hand-written name “Bright“. Left breast of jacket bears a 5” diameter representation of the 75th Fighter Squadron emblem (a flying tiger shark). Inside of zipper track has name tape bearing the name “J. G. Bright“. There are two serial number stamps inside the zipper track, both marked “O-4152“. Left shoulder bears the Army Air Force emblem, with wording “Army Air Force” below (both emblem and wording show fading). Zipper track is present on both sides, however, zipper is seized at bottom of track and will not zipper. No major losses to areas of fur lining or collar. Outside of jacket shows areas of staining (likely due to field use) and small holes near the cuffs. Jacket additionally shows signs of field repairs in several places.

Custom-made officer’s chocolate ike-style jacket presents in very good condition with light wear. Interior of jacket is lined with a custom “royal purple” silk liner. Top of neck bears the hand-written name “Bright“. Left breast pocket bears a magnificent custom 3” bullion pilot’s wings. Left shoulder bears a stunning custom Army Air Force bullion patch on velvet backing. Right shoulder bears an incredible custom CBI bullion patch (with some loss). Both sides of collar bear “U.S.” and Army Air Force officer’s insignia. Left epaulet has an enameled Army Air Force emblem badge (pin back) attached. Left arm bears three bullion overseas service bars. Buttons on jacket show a mix between custom black buttons and standard OD green buttons (likely replacements for originals). Second button from top is off jacket, but is loose inside left pocket. Waistband includes custom sewn-in clasp. Jacket shows minor moth nips in several places.

John Gilpin Bright, a World War 2 fighter ace who flew in combat with the American Volunteer Group (the famous “Flying Tigers”), is credited with being the first American fighter pilot to score victories over all three Axis countries during World War 2.

Beginning his flying career during his sophomore year at Princeton University, Bright earned his pilot’s wings and an ensign’s commission with the United States Navy in 1940. In 1941, he joined the newly formed 1st American Volunteer Group, under the leadership of the famed Claire Chennault. Flying among other fighter legends of WW2, including Gregory “Pappy” Boyington and James Howard, Bright would play a significant role in contributing to the success of the renowned “Flying Tigers” – scoring multiple victories against the Japanese and becoming a standout leader within the American Volunteer Group. After the United States’ official entrance into WW2 and the disbanding of the American Volunteer Group, Bright would form part of the nucleus of the 23rd Pursuit Group, becoming a flight leader for the 75th Fighter Squadron (“Tiger Sharks”). Bright continued to fly combat missions in the China-Burma-India Theater until his transfer to Europe in 1943. While flying in the Mediterranean Theater with the 14th Fighter Group, 37th Fighter Squadron, Bright would score victories against both the Italians and Germans, making him the first American fighter pilot to down planes from all three Axis nations during WW2.

John Bright’s storied and heroic WW2 career includes:

  • Attaining “Flying Ace” status;
  • 6-12 enemy aircraft kills (dependent on accreditation);
  • Being personally decorated by Chiang Kai-shek, twice;
  • Earning 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Silver Star; and
  • Being shot down and escaping enemy hands, twice.

This group represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the caretaker of an unparalleled piece of WW2 “Flying Tigers” history.