"Shade Ruff" A-2 Leather Flight Jacket Sold at Auction

By: COL Bruce E. Empric
On: 02/20/2004
To all:
  At its 9-10 DEC 03 auction held in San Francisco, CA the Bonhams & Butterfields Auction House sold the A-2 leather flight jacket of 1st Lt James C. Via for $2,070.00.  1st Lt Via was the co-pilot on 1st Lt J. E. Fondren's crew in the 614th Bombardment Squadron (H).  The back of his jacket was decorated with the "Shade Ruff" artwork seen in the "Pictorial Record of the 401st Bomb Group" aka the "Blue Book" as well as in Gary Valant's book on nose art.  The aircraft 1st Lt Via flew, however, was in fact "Shade Ruff # 2."  You can see an image of the jacket at the following link:  



COL Bruce E. Empric