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History of the Souvenir Jacket

Detail of the embroidery on Cockpit USA's 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket Detail of the embroidery on Cockpit USA's 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket

The souvenir jacket originated shortly after World War II in occupied Japan. American soldiers who served in the Pacific Theater commissioned these beautifully hand embroidered jackets as a memento of their travels and time abroad. The souvenir jacket reached the height of popularity during and after the Korean War (1950-1953).

The popularity of souvenir jackets grew in both Japan and South Korea, following the Korean War. During the Cold War, U.S. military base exchanges around the world, imported souvenir jackets from Asia to sell at their kiosks to meet the demand. These jackets featured “Local maps” combined with some of the more popular Asian motifs. More unique custom graphics also increased over time. Not surprisingly, as souvenir jackets gained popularity with servicemen, these decorative jackets sparked a trend with friends, family, and eventually the general civilian population.

7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket 

Cockpit USA 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket Cockpit USA 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket

Established on 19 October 1940 as the Hawaiian Air Force it was part of an expansion program of the U.S. Army Air Corps, activated at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and suffering a considerable loss of aircraft and personnel, the HAF was re-equipped and re-designated in 1942 as the Seventh Air Force based at Hickam Field. During WWII the 7AF retained the mission of providing air defense for the Hawaiian Islands and also engaged in combat operations primarily in the Central Pacific AOR. It was assigned units engaging enemy forces in the Gilbert IslandsMarshall IslandsCaroline IslandsMariana Islands, and in the last major battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of Okinawa.

During the Korean War the 7AF was based at Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea and have remained there till this day. A combat ready Air Command and serving as a deterrent to North Korean aggression.

 

Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket (Coming Soon)

Cockpit USA's Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket Cockpit USA's Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket

World War II dramatically changed the Hawaiian Islands forever. In the aftermath of the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Naval bases and surrounding Air Fields became the hub of US Pacific Theater Operations for all services. The beauty of the islands were also now seen for the first time by hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who transited on their way to and from the battlefields of the Pacific. This new exposure would bring more Americans both in and out of uniform to the Hawaiian Islands beginning in the 1950s. Once again Hawaii played an important role during the Korean War from 1950-53, and then again during the Vietnam War. Since then the islands have been home to generations of servicemen and women and still play a vital role for the US Pacific Fleet, and Air Forces.

Our souvenir jacket is inspired by the mementos purchased for off duty wear in the 1950’s and 60’s by Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen alike. These jackets were often customized based on where one traveled, or was stationed. Often adorned with maps, and local symbols the jackets were eye catching as they were finely tailored from silk, nylon or rayon. Our jacket features a beautifully embroidered map of the Hawaiian Islands, hibiscus blooms and palm trees with references to the famed landmark Diamond Head volcano and Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. The Cockpit USA Aloha Souvenir jacket is a great piece that celebrates the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, and its rich history.

Flying Tiger Souvenir

Cockpit USA's Women's Flying Tigers Tour Jacket Cockpit USA's Women's Flying Tigers Tour Jacket

Prior to the United States declaring war on Japan in December 1941, a group of American volunteer pilots and ground crew, joined the Chinese in the fight against the Empire of Japan. Nicknamed the Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group (AVG) was eventually absorbed into the US Army Air Forces on July 4th 1942, the 23rd Fighter Group was the official new name for the AVG, but kept their nom de gar “The Flying Tigers”.  The Cockpit USA Flying Tigers Souvenir jacket was created to honor the bravery and commitment of the AVG.

Our Flying Tigers Souvenir Jacket is available for men and women.