"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Aviators' Jersey
Below:  The typical Navy method for keeping inventory of an individual's issue of mandatory and optional items of flight clothing was the attachment of pre-printed lists to the last few pages of a flier's log book. This hand-typed supplemental list, generated by the aviation supply officer of the USS Hancock, was scanned from the log book of Fighting Squadron Six Hellcat pilot ENS. Roland H. Baker. It includes the entry "Jersey, khaki, summer, cotton, (2)", so we can assume the unit of issue per individual was two jerseys.
Above and below:  Corsair pilots from VMF-512 recount their adventures after returning safely to the USS Gilbert Islands following close air support strikes with bombs and rockets against enemy installations and motor transport behind the beachhead during the amphibious assault on Balikpapan, Borneo by Australian forces, on  7/3/45.  Speaking to the ship's crew over the public address system (1MC) is 1st Lt. Ronald Spjeldet. His squadron mate, 1st Lt. David Kiersey ( 2nd from left) is the focus of our attention here due to his choice of flying clothing, an aviators' jersey and Marine utility trousers (or summer service trousers?*). Often overlooked, this rather obscure item of late-war Navy flight clothing has not previously been documented but was available during the spring and summer of 1945. Both photos are courtesy of Adam Lewis and can be found on his web site, http://www.adamsplanes.com/, along with extensive historical information and photos from the MCVG-2 cruise aboard USS Gilbert Islands. Additional coverage of VMF-512 and VMTB-143 can be found in the excellent reference "USMC Aviators - Marine Corps airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945" by Gregory Pons, in chapters 5 & 6. The photo above can be found on page 146 there as well.  http://www.eden-mili-arts.com/index.php?lang=english
Naval Aviation News gives us the best information on this garment in a brief notice titled "Fliers to get Summer Jersey", found in their 3/15/44 issue and quoted in full below: 

 "BuAer has developed and procured a lightweight knitted cotton jersey to be worn for hot weather flying. It is the pull-over type with long sleeves and a low knitted collar that fits snugly about the neck. Two breast pockets are provided for carrying miscellaneous small articles. Jersey matches Byrd cloth in color and may be worn with flying garments or lightweight trousers.
 Jerseys have been delivered and may be obtained in the usual manner by submitting routine requisitions. This jersey should not be confused with jerseys issued to personnel of carrier flight deck crews and may be identified by referring to Navy Aeronautical Specification M-593, Jerseys, Cotton, Knit, Aviators'. These stock numbers should be used in ordering:

                                                        Size 38 R37-J-167-38            Size 42 R37-J-167-42
                                                        Size 40 R37-J-167-40            Size 44 R37-J-167-44
                                                                                Size 46 R37-J-167-46

The summer flying jersey was developed after activities operating in tropical areas complained that their summer flying suits - Byrd cloth coveralls - were too hot." 

Above:  Our example of the cotton jersey is devoid of a label or printed contract and manufacturer information so we are unsure how, if at all, they were marked. The left breast pocket has a pencil slot and both pockets have a green twill material lining the interior of the pocket front and flap.

Below:  A reconstruction of a typical VMF-512 pilot during the summer of 1945, dressed for warm weather flying. At the time, this squadron had replaced the M-592 back pad kit and AN-R-2b raft pack combination with the improved Model A pararaft kit (see 'The Well Dressed Aviator", page 4 ). As shown in the vintage photos above, Western shark knives, AN M-5/UR lip microphones, Lennan "Life Saver" Model No.1 lights, nylon tropical flight helmets and rigger-made shoulder holsters were also employed by some squadron members.  Click an image below to open it in another window for full size viewing.
 Above, left:  The lone illustration that accompanied the Naval Aviation News article.

Above right:  Ensign Leonard "Komo"  Komisarek of VF-88. This photo is undated, but "Komo" appears to be seated in one of VBF-88's Corsairs and is wearing an AN-6510-1 seat parachute. As a member of VF-88, he piloted F6F-5 Hellcats from USS Yorktown in the summer of 1945 ( see VF-88 video on page 4 of "Navy C.B.I. Patches").
Above left:  The jersey was available to enlisted aircrewmen as well. Sgt. Clyde C. Felton, an Avenger radioman / gunner of VMTB-143 is further proof that rolling up the sleeves appears to have been the accepted fashion when wearing the jersey. Photo courtesy of Adam Lewis.

Below:  In cooler weather, the jersey could also be used under other items of flight clothing. Here we see Sgt. Philip Miller (left), an Avenger turret gunner, posing with fellow native Minnesotans from MCVG-2. He wears a jersey under his M-426a flight suit. The "low knitted collar" is obvious and the corner of the left chest pocket flap with the top of a pencil sticking out is just visible below the NAF215284-2 jack of his ANB-H-1 head set extension cord. Photo courtesy of Adam Lewis.
* A reader left us a nice comment in the "Guestbook" while questioning whether the VMF-512 pilots seen at the top of this page were wearing utility trousers, or summer service trousers. We can't say definitely, one way or the other, but  based on the drape of the material, light reflectance, and shade when compared to the HBT cap worn by the seated pilot facing the camera, we went with the utility trousers ID. Either is possible, of course, and we had both types at hand when we posed our reconstruction, but decided to go with the contrasting color of the green utility trousers. For Marine fliers, the utilities were readily available and vintage photos show that they were often put to use as an alternate item of flight clothing (often with a khaki shirt), just as many Navy pilots commonly wore one-piece HBT suits as an alternative to their khaki summer flight suits. Take a look at the photo directly above of our reconstruction, done in black and white, to see how the utility trousers and jersey appear when color is removed as well as the vintage photo of the "Minnesotans", where the jersey can be seen in close proximity to both khaki service trousers and shirt and a khaki flight suit. As always, thank you for any and all comments!
Below:  Captain Douglas M. Smith, circa Fall of 1944, was with VMSB-331 during their temporary transition from the Dauntless to the Corsair. Seen here, he wears an aviators' jersey with unrolled sleeves under a B-4 vest and AN-6510-1 seat parachute. The squadron's designation was changed to VMBF-331 and it operated with 24 F4U-1Ds for a few short months before re-equipping once again in the Spring of 1945 with SB2C-4Es and reverting to their previous title, VMSB-331.
Above: Happy pilots of VF-49 begin to unwind with some liquid refreshment after hearing the news that they have flown their last combat mission. The date is August 15, 1945 and Japan has finally conceded defeat. The scene is their ready room aboard CVL-30, USS San Jacinto. An aviators' jersey can be seen on the man second from right in the foreground.

Below: The exact date of this this photo is unknown, but once again, we see the jersey being worn, at far right. It is believed these are members of VF-16, aboard USS Lexington, in late 1944. 
Above:  Flight #278, seen at NAS Melbourne, Fla. on November 21, 1944. This was where fledgling fighter pilots were given their final training before joining a fleet squadron. The instructor, at top right, is Ens. Arnold, a combat veteran. He wears an aviators' jersey. 

Below:  Also taken at Melbourne on the same day, one member of training flight #276 is also wearing an aviators' jersey with khaki trousers, rather than a flight suit. None of the pilots are identified here. Thanks to Dustin for these two photos from the National Archives.