Scrapbook Two…


Forrest is a “collector”. It took me a while to figure out what this really means.

Although he is not an indiscriminate collector, his collection can certainly be said to encompass a broad variety of objects. For instance, if you’ve read his book and blog you know that as a child he collected bottle caps and string. Apparently his string collecting got out of hand when the “ball” would no longer fit through his bedroom door. Then one day it mysteriously disappeared. Not his mother, father nor his siblings admitted to knowing about its disposition. I personally am suspicious of his brother, who shared the room with him, who probably had to roll this great twine orb out of his way several times each day and finally had enough.

Perhaps this incident was the factor that tipped Forrest to be the vigorous collector that he has become. Certainly everyone who has heard of Forrest is well aware of his indian artifact collection which includes Indian dolls, moccasins, masks, arrows, bows, feathered war bonnets, pipes, pots, baskets, knives, arrowheads, blankets, mats, painted buffalo skulls, ceremonial garb and more…much more. But let’s not stop there Forrest also collects rare and beautiful books and military objects from his own war and others. Below is a photo of one of Forrest’s prize possessions, a Flying Tigers flight jacket with a leather blood chit on the back. It has General Chennault’s 14th Air Force patch on the left shoulder, and a secret object in one of the pockets that he won’t talk about except to say that it’s a secret and it’s there.


Here’s the flip side. Some folks tried to be aircrew just so they could get issued one of these great leather jackets. They made even a geek look cool…


The companies that made them during the war knew they were on to a good thing. The design was never copyrighted. So after the war all those guys that never had one while they served could fork out $10 and get the same exact thing and be almost as cool as a real pilot…of course theirs didn’t have shoulder patches and blood chits…but the girls might not have known about that…


A blood chit is a document that pilots carry when they fly over foreign territory. The chit is usually in a foreign language and asks for protection and help getting back to friendly forces. It often offers a reward to the person that helps. The Flying Tigers were a volunteer force of American military and civilians whose mission was to defend China against the Japanese  forces in WWII. They flew out of Chinese National military bases at great risk to themselves to keep the Chinese mainland from being lost. They came to China just a few days after Pearl Harbor and remained a volunteer group until July of 1942 when the Army took over. The entire flight crew of every Flying Tiger aircraft carried “blood chits” to help them survive if they were forced to land in areas away from their base in China. Typically, the blood chit was printed on silk or linen and carried in a pocket or sewn into the lining of the jacket. But the owner of this jacket had his chit sewn to the back of his jacket where it could be seen readily by any folks who might find him. The American flag on the left side of the chit is an unusual addition probably made by the person who wore this jacket. Note that the flag has 48 stars rather than today’s 50. Alaska and Hawaii were territories but not yet states. The flag in the upper right of the chit is a Chinese National flag. The script below it reads:

“This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him”.


Below is the emblem of the 14th Air Force from the jacket’s shoulder.