G-1 military flight jacket
The "G-1" military flight jacket is the commonly accepted name for the fur-lined-collar World War II-era flight jacket of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. A similar jacket used by the United States Army Air Corps/United States Army Air Forces was usually called the A-2 jacket).
The G-1 remains a current uniform-issue item in naval aviation for officer and enlisted aviation personnel on flying status in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard (i.e., Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, Naval Flight Surgeon, Naval Aircrewman, etc.) and is arguably best known as the leather flight jacket worn by Tom Cruise in the film Top Gun.
More technically, the jacket may be considered the U.S. Military flight jacket developed in 1947 and used in the Korean War, since the term "G-1" was not used as a label for this fur-collared military-issued jacket until after World War II. However, the term "G-1" has come to be used for this style of naval leather flight jacket. Prior to the end of World War II, and starting in 1940 when it was officially named by the U.S. Navy, the jacket had the military spec number of M-422.
This jacket was brought to use by the U.S. Navy in the 1930s, and standardized by the Navy in 1940 as the M-422A. In 1943 this jacket, named by the Army Air Forces and the Navy as the ANJ-3 (Army Navy Jacket 3), replaced the iconic Army Air Forces A-2 jacket, the most famous of U.S. Military jackets, hence the name of ANJ-3 (vs. A-2). The M-422A replacement of the loved and famous A-2 was, however, in the form of a non-fur-collared version of the "G-1", currently referred to for obvious reasons as the G-2. In 1988, the U.S. Air Force reinstated the A-2 jacket for all USAF flight crew personnel.
For a very brief period from 1979 until early 1981, issuance of the G-1 to new USN, USMC, and USCG flight crew personnel (i.e., officer flight students and newly designated enlisted Naval Aircrewman) was discontinued as a budgetary economy action, with those personnel being issued summer weight green Nomex flight jackets identical to those issued to their U.S. Air Force counterparts. Replacement of worn-out G-1 jackets for extant Naval Aviation personnel was also discontinued during this period. This action was reversed by Secretary of the Navy action in early 1981, and those USN, USMC, and USCG flight-crew personnel who had not received G-1 jackets were issued one retroactively.
Modifications to USN, USMC, and USCG uniform regulations in the 1990s reduced the type and number of permissible insignia on the G-1, but concurrently permitted wear of the G-1 jacket off base with service uniforms.
Commercial versions of the jacket have been available on the consumer market. Official military suppliers which also sold similar spec jackets to the public include Cockpit USA, Cooper Sportswear, Orchard M/C, Brill Bros, Schott, and Excelled. After the success of Top Gun, shopping-mall leather stores carried a variety of G-1 variants, with such features as removable fur collars and sewn-on patches, including the ever-popular Gulf of Sidra Yacht Club patch. As of 2010 Orchard M/C was still selling 1986 MIL-labeled jackets to the general public. These are new production and come in goatskin and cowhide varieties stamped USN, USCG, or USMC. Premium jackets are offered by many companies, including Lost Worlds, Gibson and Barnes, and Eastman.
The military specifications under which the naval flight jackets were made, in the order of latest to earliest, are
- MIL-J-7823E(AS) 1971,
- MIL-J-7823D(WP) 1966,
- MIL-J-7823C (WEP) 1962,
- MIL-J-7823A(AER) 1961,
- MIL-J-7823(AER) 1951,
- 55J14 (AER) 1947,
- AN-J3A 1943,
- AN 6552 1943,
- M-422A 1940,
- M-422 1940
The first Navy designation of "G-1" came under the 55J14 specification.
The earlier jackets were constructed of goatskin and had a real mouton collar. Current model issue jackets (although there are exceptions) are constructed of cowhide and have a synthetic collar.
The makers of the Navy's jackets of the above specifications, in rough chronological order from the current supplier to pre-WWII include
- PHARR BRAND NAME APPAREL (2004-current supplier),
- EXCELLED SHEEPSKIN & LEATHER COAT CO., 1999–2004,
- SCHOTT BROS., INC., 1998,
- COOPER SPORTSWEAR MFG. CO., INC, 1989–1996,
- BRILL BROS., INC., 1968–1987,
- ORCHARD M/C DIST. INC., 1986,
- FERGUSON OF OKLAHOMA, 1976,
- IMPERIAL LEATHER & SPORTSWEAR INC., 1976,
- IMPERIAL FASHIONS, INC., 1974,
- THE MARTIN LANE CO., INC., 1968–1969,
- GREGORY SPORTSWEAR INC., 1967,
- IRVIN B. FOSTER SPTSWEAR CO., 1962–1963,
- STAR SPORTSWEAR MFG. CORP., 1964–1967,
- IRVIN B.FOSTER&SONS SPORTSWEAR CO., INC., 1961,
- RALPH EDWARDS SPORTSWEAR, 1961–1964,
- BREIER OF AMSTERDAM, INC., 1960,
- CALIFORNIA SPORTSWEAR COMPANY, 1960,
- CAGLECO SPORTSWEAR, 1957,
- J.A.DUBOW SPORTING GOODS CORP.,
- WERBER SPORTSWEAR, INC.,
- A. PRITZKER & SONS, INC.,
- AVIATORS CLOTHING CO., INC.,
- B.-G. INC.,
- STAR SPORTSWEAR MFG.CO. LYNN, MASS.,
- BURJAC SPORTSWEAR INC.,
- L.W.FOSTER SPORTSWEAR CO.INC.,
- ARNOFF MFG. COMPANY,
- AMERICAN SPORTSWEAR CO.,
- BOGEN & TENENBAUM,
- EDMUND T.CHURCH CO. INC.,
- FRIED, OSTERMAN CO.,
- GORDON & FERGUSON CO.,
- H.&L. BLOCK,
- WILLIS AND GEIGER INC.,
- Monarch Mfg. Company.
- Menthor Jackets Peru.