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History

  • 100 Years of The British Royal Air Force

    Today on this 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Cockpit USA commemorates the bravery and history our country’s strongest ally in Europe.  Our RAF sheepskin bomber jacket represents the epitome of English heroism during WWII. Worn over London skies in the summer of 1940 by English fighter pilots flying Spitfire and Hurricane fighters in air battles against Nazi air forces, this bomber jacket provided the warmth and freedom of movement needed during combat.

    Click here for 20% off on our RAF Fighter Weight Sheepskin Bomber Jacket. Offer valid from March 30-April 3rd 2018

    Pilots in the RAF tailored their jackets to shear down the wool to allow more freedom of movement. We at Cockpit USA have introduced a short sheared sheepskin version light enough to wear with a sweater or other layering pieces. We also commemorate the efforts of the RAF by showcasing a beautiful R.A.F belt buckle inspired by the British crown insignia.  On this anniversary Cockpit USA introduces our new "RAF Eagle Squadron Tee" which pays respect to the three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force formed with volunteer pilots from the United States. We honor the achievements of one of the most important military units ever assembled and focus on the its development by looking back at its early years of service during WWI and WWII.

    jets-throughout-history-2

    The British Royal Air Force was formed on April 1, 1918 as an integration of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The development of British flight engineering began years later after the American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the fist ever flight of self-propelled heavier than air aircraft flight in 1903. This gave birth to the Royal Naval Flying School at Eastchurch, Kent on December 1911. The school was eventually integrated into the Royal Flying Corps forming a new airplane squadron. Soon after, the specifications of the navy introduced the RNAS.

    Montrose-Royal-Flying-Corps-officers-and-an-airmen-background-from-No-2-Squadron-pose-in-front-of-a-BE-2-biplane WWI Montrose-Royal-Flying-Corps-officers-and-an-airmen-background-from-No-2-Squadron-pose-in-front-of-a-BE-2-biplane WWI

    RAF Aircrew in front of a Hurricane Aircraft 1940 RAF Aircrew in front of a Hurricane Aircraft 1940

    RAF Pilots, 1940 somewhere in England RAF Pilots, 1940 somewhere in England

    On August 4th 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and entered WWI. The British RFC only had 84 aircraft while the RNAS had 71. Germany’s advance technologies gave it great advantage during air strikes, which crippled towns in England through damaging bombings. This disadvantage caused the British military to create a separate ministry, which could focus on the development of strategic air bombing against Germany.

    WRAF Servicewoman WWII WRAF Servicewoman WWI

    It was on April 1st, 1918 that the RAF was born incorporating a female group called the Women’s Royal Air Force. The WRAF came forth after the concern of the loss of specialized female workforce. The WRAF fell into two categories; one fell under “immobiles” as they stayed attached to their local station. The second category being “mobile” lived in quarters on or near the workplace and could be transferred elsewhere if needed. The WRAF held the reputation of becoming the most professional and disciplined of all women’s service due to the strict guidelines imposed by the RAF. The WRAF came to and end on August 1919 and became an individual asset to the RAF as a whole, their bravery and call to action to a country in need held these women as one of the most important service groups during WWI.

    By the end of the first World War on November 11,1918, the RAF had dropped 5,500 tons of bombs and claimed 2,953 enemy aircraft destroyed, gaining clear air superiority along the Western Front and contributing to the Allied victory over Germany and the other Central Powers. It had also become the largest air force in the world at the time, with some 300,000 officers and airmen—plus 25,000 members of the WRAF—and more than 22,000 aircraft.

    The RAF expanded quickly due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The men of the regular pre-war air force were joined by those from the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, formed in 1924 to provide a reserve of manpower, and the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), who were put on the active list when war was imminent and who were vital to the RAF's performance, particularly during the Battle of Britain. During the Second World War the RAF fought in every major theatre, the Battle of Britain being the most famous campaign where Britain fought the superior German Air Forces, blocked the Luftwaffe air supremacy over southern England and therefore preventing the German invasion of England.

    Photo of French Pilot flying with original RAF Jacket Photo of French Pilot flying with original RAF Jacket. Click here for Cockpit USA's RAF Sheepskin Bomber Jacket

    The rapid expansion of the RAF came to life after the absorption of the men and planes of the air forces of the British Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This also included European countries in exile fighting against the Nazis such as Poland, Czech Republic, France, and Belgium as well as British Indian colonials and British West Indian recruits. During World War II the RAF reached a total power of 1.2 million men and women, of whom 185,000 were aircrew. Unfortunately about 70 thousand personnel were killed. The British Royal Air Force will forever be known as one of the most significant professional groups ever assembled and a true ally to the United States of America.

    British bomber crews during a mission in 1942, North Africa British bomber crews during a mission in 1942, North Africa

     

     

     

  • Jacky Clyman on International Women's Day

    This month we observe International Women's Day on March 8th and we would like to spotlight someone near and dear to us, our Vice President Jacky Clyman. Jacky is an inspiration to many that work at Cockpit USA and a role model to women who are veterans in the workforce as well as those starting their journey. We recently asked Jacky a couple of questions during her never ending day, and found her story to be one of passion, focus, and defiance.

    Photo Taken by Jürgen Frank Image of Jacky Clyman Photographed by Jürgen Frank while wearing the Vintage Walking Out Coat

     

    Jacky Clyman is known to her family and colleagues not only as a devoted mother and EVP of Cockpit USA but most importantly a strong businesswoman who is a true force to be reckoned with. Prior to joining her husband’s vision of launching a brand that would replicate historical flight and military styles, Jacky worked as an Executive Director of Pro Musicis, a not-for profit foundation sponsoring outstanding classical soloists and bringing their talents to those who would have very little chance to hear them. “While I was working as the Executive Director of Pro Musicis, my husband Jeff decided to launch a brand that would recreate all of the iconic flight and military styles that were only available at that time in surplus stores. Remember that the A-2 jacket, for example, had not been issued since 1943. It was also during the turmoil of the Vietnam War, when Americans were feeling that the whole world thought poorly of them, that Jeff wanted to create “real American icons” and remember those who fought and wore these pieces. Thus was born the first mail order catalog for the brand”. Jacky decided to leave the non for profit world, joining forces with Jeff Clyman to fulfill their vision of what is now Cockpit USA, quoting that she would be the “administrative” arm of the business.

     

     

    Jacky Clyman’s venture into the apparel business began out of passion for aviation. Being an “Air Force brat”, Jacky understood the pilot and military lifestyle that ultimately became the business module that is Cockpit USA. Throughout the years Jacky confronted challenges of being an entrepreneur, especially as a woman. “Learning how to work with foreign customers whose language I did not master was one of my fondest memories” said the multi-lingual woman who’s first job was as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department. “While in negotiations with a Japanese company for a whole day thinking we were on the verge of signing an agreement, only to realize that what I had been interpreting as acceptance of “terms” was just an acknowledgement that they had understood what I had been saying, not formally agreeing to it”. These are just some of experiences that shaped Jacky’s career.

     

    For Jacky, the apparel business is no different than any other sector as it always involves politics and egos. “Telling men what to do especially when I was in my 30’s, realizing that a woman in a position of power was considered a ‘bitch on wheels’ while a man would simply be considered assertive” became one of the obstacles Jacky had to face in 42 years in the industry. According to Jacky through many changes have advanced women in the work place, the one thing that has not changed has been the perception of others while entering the room with Cockpit USA’s president Jeff Clyman; and still being considered the designer and not the administrative arm. Today Jacky remains a strong figure in the business aspects of Cockpit USA, providing her employees with support and feedback in design, sales, and marketing, as well as superb customer service. When asking Jacky what she would say to young women joining the workforce today she simply said “I wouldn’t just give advise to young women but to all women joining the business: it’s a tough business and a real roller coaster, so be prepared for it”.

     

  • Glenn Miller and America's Big Band

    Glenn Miller Lining Apliqué Glenn Miller Lining Appliqué

    Glenn Miller, band leader, musician, arranger, and composer during the swing era of the 1940's became one of the most iconic names in music. In 1942 with patriotic intention of entertaining the Allied Forces to boost morale overseas, Glenn Miller joined the war effort and was given rank as Army Captain and leader of the Army Band. He would soon transfer to the U.S Army Air Force, playing at air fields and bases across the nation and finally shipping out to England during the Summer of 1944.

    4d9da7211c5fd924b060d71bd5d96b6a-frances-langford-glenn-miller

    Miller's most famous recordings include "In The Mood", and "Moonlight Serenade".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CI-0E_jses

    Miller was missing in action in 1944 on a flight from England to France over the English channel, but will forever be remembered as a hero and music star of the era.

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    Before Miller's disappearance, his music was used by World War II AFN radio broadcasting for entertainment and morale as well as counter-propaganda to denounce fascist oppression in Europe with even Miller once stating on radio "America means freedom and there's no expression of freedom quite so sincere as music."

    z21w016-glenn-miller-1080

    Today Cockpit USA immortalizes Glenn Miller on our new lambskin A2 jacket reminiscent of the World War II years and swing music. Lined with a beautiful silk screened Glenn Miller Appliqué and a hand printed image of Glenn Miller playing his trombone on the back of the jacket; Cockpit USA’s Glenn Miller lambskin A-2 is designed for those who appreciate the great musicians who defined a whole era of popular culture.

  • The Fishtail Parka

    Korea 1950, the U.S was at war defending South Korea from an invasion by North Korea and Communist China!

    Roads leaving to the Chosin Reservoir Roads leaving to the Chosin Reservoir

    On 14 November 1950, a cold front from Siberia descended over the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean peninsula, and the temperature plunged to as low as −35 °F. The cold weather was accompanied by frozen ground, creating considerable danger of frostbite casualties, icy roads, and weapon malfunctions. Medical supplies froze; morphine syrettes had to be defrosted in a medic's mouth before they could be injected; frozen blood plasma was useless on the battlefield. Even cutting off clothing to deal with a wound risked gangrene and frostbite. Batteries used for the Jeeps and radios did not function properly in the temperature and quickly ran down. The lubrication in the guns gelled and rendered them useless in battle. Likewise, the springs on the firing pins would not strike hard enough to fire the round, or would jam. In fact, it was the brutal Korean weather that gave birth to the fishtail parka.

    Rigorous Winter over the Chosin Reservoir Rigorous Winter over the Chosin Reservoir

    The M-51 fishtail parka hails its history from the US Army in Korea during the tough wet winters of the early 1950’s during the Korean War.   Like many iconic pieces of outerwear, “the fishtail” has roots in the military. The old M-43 field jacket and liner of WWII as well as the wool great coat were the standard outerwear provided to the military, but the notoriously wet and cold climate of the Korean peninsula necessitated a warmer coat for American troops in the Korean War.

    Cockpit USA M51 DMZ Fishtail Shell Cockpit USA M51 DMZ Fishtail Shell

    The Army designers first developed the M-1949 (Military 1949) and then the M-51 Cold Weather Parka as a result. The main concern for the US military during the Korean War was to keep the soldiers warm and mobile without wearing a robust and clumsy piece of outwear. The fishtail parka accomplished these needs with a three-quarter length, so it could keep someone’s entire body warm without hindering their movement, and constructed the coat out of waterproof cotton and then a nylon cotton blend, so the material would shed snow and freezing rain.

    In the 1960’s, the army surplus fishtail parka became a fashion staple on the streets of London, protecting the suits of working men that needed shield from the city’s elements. While fashionistas would have you believe the tail is intended to hang down like the back end of a fish, it’s actually function is to be tied around the wearer’s legs, from the back to the front, in order to seal things off from any unexpected wind gusts.

    London 1960's The Fishtail Parka becomes a fashion staple in the streets of London during the 1960's

    Our made in the USA M51 DMZ Fishtail with liner has adopted the architecture of the G1 issue shell and liner, and has now been modified to fit a zip in/zip out soft merino shearling hoody, which acts as a fur liner that can also be used as a beautiful and comfortable stand-alone piece. With its authentic water repellent military specification tight weave canvas, the 100% Mil. Spec cotton gives the wearer perfect cold or wet weather protection. Cockpit USA also offers an M51 DMZ fishtail shell and a U.S Army Airborne Parachute Wing insignia fishtail version that heralds the bravery of the military parachutist. Authentic, historic, and unique; the M51 Fishtail Parka is designed for those who demand the best.

    On The Left: M51 DMZ Fishtail W. Liner On The Right: Airborne Embroidered Fishtail On The Left: M51 DMZ Fishtail W. Liner
    On The Right: Airborne Embroidered Fishtail

     

     

     

     

  • Our “Ageless Warrior” The U.S.S. Coral Sea

    40th Coral Sea Jacket 40th Coral Sea Jacket

    Cockpit USA is proud to introduce the U.S.S. Coral Sea Tribute Deck Jacket in remembrance of the battle that took place in 1942. The Japanese embroidered tour jackets of the 50’s and 60’s inspire our U.S.S. Coral Sea Wool Tour jacket. At the height of Japanese embroidery work, servicemen enjoyed being able to order patches or embroidery for only one jacket, which was not the case back at home in The United States. Beautifully cut, sewn, and embroidered in the USA with back panel that includes patches along sleeves denoting the ports of call for the ship, the U.S.S Coral Sea Tribute Deck Jacket honors the story of the many brave sailors that served proudly on the front lines of the U.S.S Coral Sea. Made in a very dark P-90 military navy wool, our Coral Sea jacket showcases the strength, leadership, and authenticity that is perfect for the everyman who honors legacy and independence.

    VC22 Over USS Coral Sea CVP-43 VC22 Over USS Coral Sea CVP-43

    May 8th, 1942 became a pivotal day in the Pacific Theater as it carried out the very first all-carrier battle. Blinded on both sides, the events that occurred during that dark day influenced the defeat of the Japanese empire in the up coming years. “The Battle of The Coral Sea” was the fist of its kind as both parties could not see the other during combat. The number of missed opportunities became evident to the airmen involved as they learned their trade through trial and deadly error. One of the sharpest learning curves in Naval history, the battle of the Corral Sea was a turning point in WWII.

    This four-day World War II conflict marked the first air-sea battle in history. The Japanese were seeking to control the Coral Sea by occupying Port Moresby in southeast New Guinea; this of course never came to fruition due to the interjection of the Allied forces. After landing, the Japanese came under attack from the carrier planes of the American task force commanded by Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher. Even though this fierce battle proved to be damaging on both sides; the Allied forces came out on top due to the Japanese’s airplane loss. The loss of airplanes left the Japanese without enough planes to cover the ground attack of Port Moresby, resulting in a strategic Allied victory.

    U.S.S Coral Sea CVA-43 U.S.S Coral Sea CVA-43

    The U.S.S. Coral Sea (CV-43) named in commemoration of the historic Battle of the Coral Sea, launched on the 2nd of April 1946, and commissioned on the 1st of October 1947; earned the affectionate nickname “Ageless Warrior” through her long career, in service with the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet and subsequently the Seventh Fleet. In the span of 44 years of service, she has participated in NATO exercises around the world, operations during the Vietnam War, Paris Peace Accords and the Iran Hostage Crisis, in addition to a number of World Cruises and deployments. This resume would explain the ships motto “ Older and Bolder”. On April 26th, 1990. the “Ageless Warrior” was laid to rest. The U.S.S. Coral Sea was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, eventually scrapped in the year 2000. Today and always, Cockpit USA honors the U.S.S Coral Sea.

     

     

     

  • A Brief History of The Black Cats

    PBY 5As Aircraft, part of The Black Cats Missions PBY 5As Aircraft, part of The Black Cats Missions

    Imagine flying closely over the dangerous waters of the South Pacific during WWII, hiding in the darkness of the night from enemy ships. These nighttime operations referred to as “Black Cat” or “Nightmare” missions will soon become your specialty, earning you the nickname “Black Cat”. These nocturnal missions gave the PBY airmen their fame in the early years of the 1940’s. Painted matte black, effective and creative in its late night stealth missions, the PBY aircraft became the first of its kind.

    The name “Black Cats”, adopted on October 30TH 1942, by the PBY aircraft stealth missions over the waters of the South Pacific, became one of the most important squadron names in U.S history. The PBY is considered to be the savior, hunter, aggressor, and supplier of the Pacific theatre during World War II. Though this heavy and slow flying aircraft was considered to be an easy target, the black matte paint turned this giant into an invisible nighttime predator. Equipped with torpedoes weighing more than two thousand pounds each, the PBY had to be precise to hit their targets during the dead of night. Extremely dangerous, but highly effective, these missions lead to shipboard Catalina crews receiving scores of commendations.

    PBY Aircraft PBY Aircraft

    The first official Black Cat squadron was VP-12, which operated PBY-5As, an amphibious version of the PBY that could land on water or on a runway with conventional landing gear. Formerly VP-24, VP-12 was re-designated on August 1st 1941 and stationed at NAS Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941 most of the fleet were on a training exercise when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A majority of their fleet managed to escape undamaged, but the hangars of VP-21 and VP-22 were ruined. Fueled by patriotism to defend their country, VP-12 was transferred to NAS Kaneohe and patrolled the waters around Hawaii as well as sending detachments to Midway Island. Their attacks and rescue missions patrolling the South Pacific waters around Guadalcanal would lead to their legacy.

    Cockpit USA's New Black Eagle G-1 Bomber Jacket Cockpit USA's New Black Eagle G-1 Bomber Jacket

    Cockpit USA is proud to commemorate the history of the Black Cat squadron by introducing six iconic items that pay homage to the bravery of the aircrew men that served during WWII. We are offering three Black Cats t-shirts that shine light on the incredible aircrew of the VPB-24, VPB-71, and the VP-44 using the squadron logos, as well as our VP-44 baseball cap. Our VP12 Black Cats N4 Aircrew Deck Jacket commemorates the VP12 squadron, the first squadron that ventured into New Guinea and the Solomon Island airspace. Lastly, our hand treated goatskin Black Eagle leather G-1 bomber jacket honoring the missions of the VPB-71. Legendary, powerful, and one of a kind; the Black Cats were at the forefront of ingenuity and precision.

  • Cockpit USA and Budweiser

    cockpitxbudweiserxpearlharbor

    Amazing things can result from everyone being committed and passionate about the goal. This is what happened when a project that was originally intended to be a single limited edition commemorative jacket, turned into something much more exciting.

    Referencing our original art while working on one of the first of 10 jackets. Referencing our original art while working on one of the first of 10 jackets.

    Cockpit USA created a design to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Our intent, to donate the jacket for auction at the Pacific Aviation Museum gala held on December 3rd, 2016 held as part of the weeklong PH75 commemoration. All proceeds would go to the restoration of the Ford Island control tower, and historic Hangar 79, a building that still bears the bullet holes from the Japanese attacks on December 7th, 1941. The “Remember Pearl Harbor” Jacket would be created on our finest example of an original WWII horsehide US Army Air Corps A-2 flight jacket, being a true representation of a WWII nose art piece. That plan changed when representatives from Cockpit USA and Budweiser realized both companies would be supporting the event.

    Hand painting the back of our horsehide A-2. Hand painting the back of our horsehide A-2.

    When Budweiser learned more about the jacket, wheels began to turn, and a concept was created that offered far more breadth than a single jacket. Budweiser commissioned 9 additional jackets creating “the group of 10”. The group of 10 would become a list of people that go to great personal lengths to support our active military and to preserve and support the legacy of our veterans. A group of people whom we wanted to show our appreciation to, and who are all inspirational in their individual ways. The list represented the upper echelon influencers for military and veteran support across the entertainment industry, charitable groups, and industry leaders. All with the common thread of being committed to supporting our troops.

    Flying over Pearl Harbor Flying over Pearl Harbor

    We landed in Hawaii, and went directly to the gala, it was a wonderful event and a honor to have been able to attend. The original jacket donated for the Gala was sold for $4,000.00, 100% of the profits going to help preserve the historical Ford Island hangars and control tower. The people at the Pacific Aviation Museum are doing outstanding work to preserve such an historic site.

    Mike Kennedy, a partner at Cockpit USA, presents Gary Sinise with one of our limited edition hand painted Remember Pearl Harbor A-2s. Mike Kennedy, a partner at Cockpit USA, presents Gary Sinise with one of our limited edition hand painted Remember Pearl Harbor A-2s.

    That evening Cockpit USA and Budweiser were given the opportunity to present a jacket, and offer our appreciation to, Mr. Gary Sinise. Mr. Sinise, the Lt. Dan band, and the “Gary Sinise foundation” have been supporting our troops and veterans for over a decade. The foundation reported that 89.51% of every dollar raised went to support veterans, and got over $14M NET to our veterans in 2015 alone.

    Meeting with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Meeting with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

    Later that week we presented Mr. Garth Brooks with his very own hand painted 75th Anniversary jacket. Mr. Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood agreed to perform a concert to support the Pearl Harbor 75th. After their shows sold out in a matter of minutes, they added 5 additional shows; they then announced that they would donate 100% of the proceeds to the Pearl Harbor memorials. This is just another example of how Garth Brooks has repeatedly stepped up to support our veterans and their legacy, throughout his career.

    Budweiser & Cockpit USA proudly present... Budweiser & Cockpit USA proudly present...

    In addition to “the group of 10” Budweiser encouraged us to agree to offer 65 additional jackets to the public. This would make the total 75, before we “break the mold”. After much discussion with our painters, we agreed, and are now happy to offer a limited run of this jacket to the public. The support and encouragement from Budweiser not only enabled us as a company to increase our support for the Pearl Harbor memorials, it gave us the opportunity to showcase our own personal commitment to supporting the legacy of the American veteran.

    Cockpit USA's hand-painted "Remember Pearl Harbor" Jacket Cockpit USA's hand-painted "Remember Pearl Harbor" Jacket

    We are happy to be able to offer this hand-painted limited edition "Remember Pearl Harbor" Jacket to you, and would like to thank the people at Budweiser, as well as the group of ten for all they do for our veterans and active military.


    “Budweiser Historical Efforts”

    Anheuser-Busch’s military support dates back to the company’s co-founders. Both Adolphus Busch, and his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser, served in the Union Army as members of the Missouri Volunteers during the Civil War.

    During World War I and World War II, the company produced diesel engines for Navy submarines and amphibious recon vehicles for the Army. More than 1,500 employees served and all had jobs when they returned. In addition, the company retooled factories to make gliders and wing assemblies, and donated freight cars for military transport.

    In 1944, employees raised $879,350 in war bonds, enough to purchase two B-17 bombers for the Army Air Corps. The Army named the planes “Miss Budweiser” and “Buschwacker.”

    Anheuser-Busch helped thousands of Americans show support for the troops in 2005 through the “Here’s to the Heroes Tour.” The 28-city national tour allowed visitors to record customized 10- to 30-second messages of support distributed to U.S. troops in more than 177 countries via the American Forces Radio and Television Service.

    More than 5,500 Anheuser-Busch employees have served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and other military campaigns. Employees currently serving in the U.S. military may resume their jobs at Anheuser-Busch.

    Rick Nechio, Budweiser Director Transit, standing in front of the Ford Island Control Tower. Rick Nechio, Budweiser Director Transit, standing in front of the Ford Island Control Tower.

    “We are honored to have partner with Cockpit USA to commission this limited edition jacket” said Rick Nechio, Budweiser Director Transit

    www.budweiser.com | www.anheuser-busch.com


    "Cockpit USA Historical efforts"

    Cockpit USA has been committed to supporting our active duty military and veteran community from day one. They have used their historical archives and design team to build awareness for extraordinary people such as the Women Air Service Pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Doolittle Raiders, and the American Volunteer Group for over 40 years. We often have the pleasure of being able to replace or replicate veterans favorite issue jacket they no longer have, or even give people the chance to own the flight jacket they always wanted. Cockpit USA’s mission has always been one of education, and connection when it comes to the American Soldier.

    The American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, Long Island The American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, Long Island

    Simultaneously, the founders of Cockpit USA, Jeff and Jacky Clyman, set out to create a physical venue to continue that education. Committing an incredible amount of their time and financial support, they founded the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, Long Island. The museum hosts numerous events annually to honor historic military events, ceremonies, and remembrances.

    American Airpower Museum Mission:

    “The museum’s strategic mission is the preservation of the legacy of all Americans who have sacrificed themselves to defend our liberties and to educate a new generation regarding the courage, valor and heroism of our nation’s citizen soldiers by presenting the operational aircraft and armor in the museum’s collection and its related displays, exhibits and programs.”

    www.americanairpowermuseum.org

  • 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.

  • WCW: Blanche Stuart Scott

    We always admire a woman with a sense of adventure. Blanche Stuart Scott changed the ideas behind aviation and automobiles as possibly the first woman to fly solo in an airplane in the United States.

    From a young age, automobiles entranced Scott. Inspired by Alice Huyler Ramsey, Scott and reporter, Gertrude Phillips, became the second women to drive across the United States. From New York to San Francisco, Blanche showed the U.S. that women could do anything men could, even drive a car and make the repairs.

    Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane

    After her cross-country feat, Scott received the attention of Glenn Curtis, who agreed to give her flying lessons. Starting off focusing on taxiing the biplane around, Curtis taught Scott the basics of the plane before she could take to the sky.

    On September 6, Scott’s plane lifted off the ground to about 40 feet, before she gently landed. Though the flight was short, and possibly caused by a gust of wind or the limiter moving, she took to the air like a bird.

    On October 24, 1910, she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team. Known as the “Tomboy of the Air”, she was the first woman to fly as a public event in America. Never afraid of a challenge, she became an accomplished stunt pilot, exceeding in “death dives” that would leave the crowds roaring.

    Contracted to fly for Glenn Martin in 1912, Blanche became the first female test pilot. By 1916, she retired by flying because she was bothered by the public interest in air crashes. Scott was also against the aviation industries views that women could not become mechanics or engineers, even after she and other had proved women could be car mechanics.

    Blanche Scott Blanche Scott autograph

    Never losing her love of aviation, in 1948, Chuck Yeager piloted a TF-80C with Scott as the first woman to fly in a jet. Familiar with her past as a stunt pilot, her treated her to some snap rolls and dives. Rekindling her love of flight, she began working to help acquire early aviation materials for the United States Air Force Museum.

    An inspiration to women across the U.S., Scott will always be remember for her ground breaking work in the world of aviation for women.

  • MCM: James Herman Banning

    The belief that freedom of the sky would help create freedom on the ground made James Herman Banning one of the revolutionaries of his time.

    James Herman Banning James Herman Banning

    Born in 1899 in Oklahoma, Banning grew up with the determination to one day fly despite lack of resources and prejudice. Moving to Iowa where he studied electrical engineering for a little more than a year, his passion for aviation grew. Flight obsessed, he applied to multiple flight schools where he was rejected. Finally he found a pilot, Lt. Fisher, who saw the spirit in Banning and agreed to teach him to fly on the sly.

    Unfortunately, Lt. Fisher died in a plane crash just as Banning was near ready to fly solo. Without Fisher’s help, Banning was faced with finding a plane to fly when no one would lend him a plane to complete his required solo hours.

    Banning, undeterred, bought the engine from Lt. Fisher’s crashed plane and acquired plane and auto scraps to build his own plane, “Miss Ames”. Flying on his homemade plane, he earned his solo hours and was the first African American to receive a pilot’s license from the United States Department of Commerce.

    His love of flight, gave him the idea to become the first African American to fly across the United States, during the Great Depression. With no backers or newspaper coverage, Banning went out to find a way to fund his flight. In 1932, teaming up with mechanic, Thomas Cox Allen, the two came up with the idea to fund their flight along the way by soliciting small donations from the towns they landed in. Whether the donation was a meal, a place to sleep, or gas money, these donors would then inscribe their names on the wing of the plane, called “The Gold Book”. Each contributor was sharing their name in a piece of history, with a total of 65 individual names written on “The Gold Book”.

    "Miss Ames" & pilots James Herman Banning & Thomas Cox Allen "Miss Ames" & pilots James Herman Banning & Thomas Cox Allen

    Starting in Los Angeles, Banning and Allen faced many hardships and adventures on their cross-country flight due to the color of their skin, having no money, and flying a rickety plane. In one city, a whole town searched to find the right car parts to send them on their way after they crashed into a barn. In another city, Allen had to sell his suit for gas money. The last trek of their journey was funded by the Democratic Party in exchange to have Banning and Allen throw “Vote Roosevelt” flyers out of the cockpit as they flew over towns on their way to New York.

    After an exhausting, exciting 21 days of flying they completed their journey with a victory circle around the Statue of Liberty then landed at Valley Stream Airport. However, Banning’s accomplishment was unattributed. As a “race pilot”, his accomplishment was not considered news worthy by the white-owned newspapers.

    After their plane failed in Pennsylvania on the flight back, Banning and Allen were stuck returning to the West coast in the back of a bus.

    Trying to raise money to repair his beloved airplane, “Miss Ames”, Banning decided to fly a number of stunts in an AirTech Air Show. On the day of the show, the Chief Flight Inspector refused to allow Banning to fly one of his planes because he believed Banning couldn’t be trusted due to the color of his skin. An unlicensed white Naval mechanic offered Banning a seat in his friend’s plane, as a passenger. The mechanic wanted to preform the stunt, but during a loop stalled the plane, causing it to crash into the ground, costing Banning his life. In his honor, a group of his friends tried to rescue his beloved plane, only to find out it had been sold for scrap without Banning’s permission or knowledge. The physical record of the journey and “The Gold Book” were all destroyed.

    Banning’s determination, courage and hope for freedom was an inspiration to many other aspiring African American pilots and those who want to feel the freedom of the sky.

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