1950s USAF KOREAN WAR COLD WEATHER FLIGHT GEAR DISPLAY

KOREAN WAR USAF COLD WEATHER FLIGHT GEAR DISPLAY

In the Korean war which lasted from 1950-953, the winters were found to be very very cold, so the USAF used heavy duty clothing to keep their pilots and aircrew warm in flying into North Korea. Also if shot down they would be given some further protection from the wind and snow environmental affects.

The period era clothing then in use by the USAF was a short lived era of a blue dye in the clothes, to create the “blue” sky theme that the USAF wanted to display to the public/world.
This was replaced very quickly in 1950s with olive drab green, as it didnt show up so easier from air or ground , where as the blue did.

The winter gear used in Korea was what was devised for WW2 and some slight updates but not much.

The USAF used the well designed cold weather flight gear from WW2 as the basis for the B-15 Jacket, A-11 flight pants, L-1 flight suit and A-6A boots.

By Korea 1950 these items had been updated to B-15C blue jacket, A-11C blue flight pants, L-1A blue flight suit and A-1 flight boots.
The items i own are all rare, as they are generally in a large size and in good condition except for the flight pants which have suffered some ankle tears in the wool fabric due to aging.

In my photo shoot i used following items

A-1 large cold weather boots with straps,
L-1A flight suit cold weather large long,
B-15C cold weather jacket Size 40,
B-5 LPU still brand new – late 1940s/50s no date of manfu,
B-10 parachute,
P-1A large flight helmet with MS-22001 mask,
1950s baseball cap with 430th FBS patch korean era.
Actual USAF iussed 1950 korean flight map of north korea.

The gear is very tight fitting once put on, as the winter gear is cumbersome. In a small cockpit it was very restrictive in and pilots had to adapt to this.
From my experiences of flight gear and sitting in warbirds, I think it must of been extremely uncomfortable for the pilots sitting in an ejection seat for long hours and enduring the cold weather as well.



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2 Responses to 1950s USAF KOREAN WAR COLD WEATHER FLIGHT GEAR DISPLAY

  1. Fred O'Neill says:

    great info there. do you know anything about the tan/khaki flight suits i see in several korean war era pilot pics? you reference blue being the early war flight suit color. did the USAF switch from blue to both Khaki and green (depending on situation or season)?

  2. Hi Fred, The tan K-1 flight suits were from WW2. In 1947 the USAAF became the USAF and shortly afterwards a dark blue flightgear directive saw versions of the then green K-2 and L-1 flight suits such as K-2A and L-1A introduced with blue colour. Korea was a war of mix mash colours and anything went , not until late war was there some vague standardisation but limited. Anyone wore whatever they could use. It got more variety in winter.

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