Discontinued: Not yet
Purpose: Korean War
Collar: Mouton with button-up
Patch: Multi w past and present career
If there ever was a celebrity in flying jackets, the G-1 is all the way up there together with the A-2. The Navy’s G-1 flying jacket, previously named M422, is a bit newer than the Airforce’s A-2 counterpart. It first saw light in the mid- to late-30s and was adopted in 1941 but not named G-1 until specification 55J14 issued in 1947 with the initiation of the Cold War in Korea. It is roughly similar to the A-2 design, but with some major differences.
The most obvious is the mouton collar that can be buttoned in the flip-up position and give warmth and smoothness around the neck. The standard jacket uses goatskin, with a distinctive pebbled appearance vs. the smooth finish of the A-2. This led to the nickname of the G-1: “The Goat Coat”. Other differences are: no epaulets and an improved cut that restricts one’s motion less.
Significant for the G-1 (M422) is it’s lifetime. It has been authorized wear for Naval Aviators almost continuously since the 1930s. The G-1 lasted until 1979, when U.S. Congress cancelled it due to budgetary cuts and its tremendous populararity, which was overwhelming the Navy’s supply system. However, the production was continued in 1981 and generations of sailors and Marines have earned their Goat Coats since before the Second World War.
Where Army and Air Force pilots generally were allowed only one unit patch on their flying jackets, the tradition in the Navy is to retain patches from previous units or deployments. It’s like the modern equivalent to sailor’s tattoos. You can read a pilot on his G-1.
In the motion picture “Top Gun” Tom cruise up’ed the fame of the Navy G-1, that caused a surge of interest in the G-1 jacket in it’s time.
Current G-1s are made from cow hide and synthetic collar with a few exceptions.