WWII bomber jacket returned to 90-year-old vet - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

WWII bomber jacket rescued from Goodwill, returned to 90-year-old vet

A military buff like John Dodds could tell right away the leather bomber jacket wasn't just any old coat hanging on a rack at a Washington, D.C., Goodwill shop.

His daughter had noticed it and called him over, and Dodds began to examine it. The leather was a a bit stiff, but it was in good shape, with that perfect vintage patina. On the back was a red-bearded man in a winged helmet, the words "Red Raiders" and "22nd Bomb Group" emblazoned above and below.

The jacket had lieutenant bars, a pricetag of $17 and a pretty big clue as to its original owner.

"Robert G. Arand" read the name tag on the front breast, according to Stars and Stripes, which first reported the story of the World War II relic's strange resurfacing at a thrift shop, and its pending return to the 90-year-old Arand, a former B-24 pilot who is alive and well in Cincinnati.

Dodds, assistant general counsel for the Air Force and an amateur military historian who once helped a friend research his brother who was shot down during the Vietnam War, plunked down the $17. Within 24 hours, he had reached Robert Arand by phone.

They chatted about Arand's time in the 22nd Bombardment Group, a predecessor of today's 22nd Operations Group at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. Arand recalled a commander with red hair, Col. Richard Robinson, from whom the group took its nickname. Arand, who flew more than 40 missions in the South Pacific and remained in the military until his retirement in 1983, figures the last time he wore the jacket was in San Francisco, well before settling in Ohio.

"I remember my wife asking if I was ever going to wear it again, and I said I didn't think I would, except for a veterans' parade," said Arand, who believes that his wife may have donated it to a charity in Cincinnati in 1950.

Arand, a father of five, grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of two, told Stars and Stripes he isn't sure how the jacket wound up in Washington, but he "would love to know."

Dodds recently shipped the jacket to Arand, who said it still fits -- if maybe a tad snug in the chest. He's ready to show it off to his family.

"My children and grandchildren are anxious to see it," he said.

 

 

 

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Tuesday, April 25 2017 2:44 PM EDT2017-04-25 18:44:10 GMT
    Tuesday, April 25 2017 3:49 PM EDT2017-04-25 19:49:50 GMT

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>
  • Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Friday, April 28 2017 10:36 PM EDT2017-04-29 02:36:27 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:00 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:00:47 GMT
    Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    more>>

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    more>>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>
Powered by Frankly