Attempting to stay warm during the long missions in the cold cockpit of the P-38, many pilots in Europe chose to wear the Army winter combat jacket that was popularly known as a "Tanker Jacket." 2nd Lt. John Carroll of the 55th Fighter Group was wearing this jacket when he was shot down over Holland on Nov. 23, 1943. The damage to the right shoulder area is from shards of metal and Plexiglass caused by exploding German aircraft cannon rounds. The jacket continued to be worn by Carroll throughout the long winter months of his 18-month captivity in the Stalag Luft I prisoner of war camp until his liberation in May of 1945.
The insignia sewn on the jacket represents the 38th Fighter Squadron and was hand-made from fabric scraps by a fellow prisoner in the camp. The nametag was also hand-made in the camp by branding show leather with a red-hot nail.
Click here for information on the Lockheed P-38L Lightning.
Click here to return to the World War II Gallery.