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Artifact Friday: The B-4 Garment Bag

This past week, we received a donation of a B-4 garment bag.

The B-4 was developed during World War Two and was used for at least thirty more years as a carrier for large garment items.

When men joined the Air Force (Army Air Corps at the time the bag was first used), they were issued several uniforms including flight suits, winter uniforms, summer uniforms, and at least two types of dress uniforms.

These uniforms needed a bag to be stored in that would keep them from the elements and (almost) wrinkle-free.

This bag was large and heavy-duty. It had a large pocket on either side for undergarments, socks, and other personal items.

Then the bag would open all the way up displaying a wide, long flat area where you would put the dress uniforms.

You could place them lengthways in the bag (dress jacket, shirt, and pants) into this bag. Then when the bag folded, the uniforms would neatly fold.

They would stay like this the entire trip in the airplane, on the boat, or however, the airman would travel.

This B-4 military bag was owned by Thurston A. Thompson. Thompson served in the Air Force for twenty-six years. He flew in three different types of aircraft during his career including a B-52, B-36, and even a B-47. He also navigated nearly twenty bombing missions during the Vietnam War.

He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

His B-4 flying bag has been to a lot of places over his career and has finally landed here. We hope to display it along with his story soon!

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