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Why is it called a bomber jacket

BY BJTC Staff Insight
BY BJTC Staff

Nice coat. But, why is it called a bomber jacket?

It has a knit collar, cuffs, & waist and a sturdy zip-up front. It’s got a comfortably lined interior and just the right amount of room. It’s a favorite of men and women of all walks of life. Butwhy is it called abomber jacket?

Bomber jackets are now about a century removed from their origin story, so asking how they got their name is a legitimate question. 

Why is it called a bomber jacket?

The answer begins in 1917. The US Army Aviation Clothing Board created special jackets for WWI pilots because the cockpits in their fighter planes were open-air and uninsulated, making for bitter cold conditions. Flight jackets evolved through a few different types including A-1, A-2, and G-1.

pilot in WWI with bomber jacket

Image Source: US Air Force

Fast forward to the 1930s, and we get to the first jackets designed specifically for high-altitude bomber pilots: the B-series. The first of its kind was the B-3, a beast of a coat designed to keep bombers warm 25,000 feet in the air. It was crafted of sheepskin and lined with heavy-duty sheep fur. This iteration of the bomber jacket did not have a knit waistband or cuffs; those would come later.

general patton wearing leather brown bomber jacket.

Image Source: Library of Congress 

Fast forward through another few iterations, and we arrive at the type MA-1 bomber jacket, modified to keep up with the changing conditions and needs of pilots. This version of the bomber jacket is what we see most commonly replicated today.

3 pilots wearing bomber jackets

So, why is it called a bomber jacket? Because there’s history there, rooted in the bravery of pilots and bombardiers past. Whether you’re holding a vintage military issued jacket or the year’s hottest (civilian) fashion accessory, remember how it got its name.

Buffalo Jackson Leather Bomber Jacket

Pictured is the Rebel Leather Bomber Jacket in Distressed Black 

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