• Hey guys, I had to upgrade the VLJ software because the old one is being phased out. Please let me know of any issues in the SITE UPDATE THREAD. Thanks!

Sheeley Built USN Jacket


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Great work Dave. Helps to understand the level of effort in labour and design that goes into making a jacket. Not to mention the continual maintenance that also goes into the machines


Well-Known Member
Hi All,

Just acquired an interesting picture taken aboard the USS Langley (CVL-27) as related to the Ens. John Z. Colt's Monarch jacket & that I would like to share with the forum. The picture comes directly from the son of another naval aviator. Like Colt, a participant in the Battle Of Okinawa aboard the USS Langley. In this case, a member of VF-23 & sister squadron of VT-23 who John Colt flew with. According to the son that following image which included his father was made in either March or early April of 1945.

Note that the VF-23 ready room chalk board indicates the ordnance to be carried that day for both (VF-23 & VT-23) Air Group 23.

In doing some further research I identified the commander (CAG) of Air Group 23. Moreover, I have also located a great picture of the CAG of Air Group 23 James Southerland. That picture happened to have been taken on the deck of the USS Langley just prior to leading a strike on Okinawa.

That image of CAG Southerland seen directly above must have been taken late in the campaign. He is not seen wearing his leather jacket!

CAG James J. Southerland had an interesting but short career. Credited with having made both the first shoot & shot down during the Battle Of Guadalcanal. A synopsis of his noteworthy exploits can be seen here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pug_Southerland .

What I found to have been the most fascinating story about Southerland was his encounter with Suburo Sakai. Almost lost because of his .45 having gotten tangled up and preventing a quick exit from his shot up air craft. Even more interesting was that his story of nearly not making it out of his air craft due to his pistol was confirmed in 1998 and can be found here https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/f4f/5192.html .

Even more ironic was what happened to Sakai upon immediately turning his attention to the same bomber air craft Southerland had been escorting. Likewise & as a direct result of that encounter Sakai became severely wounded and nearly shot down himself. That complete story can be found in Sakai's book SAMURAI!

It is information like this that keeps me interested.

Cheers, Dave
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