This jacket was worn by Russell Barnett Aitken when serving with the USAAF in World War II. The badge, a snarling red fox with cactus and holster, firing a .50 caliber Browning machine-gun, was Captain Aitken's personal brain-child. His original sketch, made during a gunnery convention at Las Vegas, was applauded and approved by no less an authority than Walt Disney, and became the official emblem for Yuma Army Air Field. It appeared everywhere at Yuma: on the flight jackets of pilots, gunners and bombardiers who trained there, on the sides of the fighters and bombers that flew the skies over Yuma, on moving base targets and on officers' helmets.
On February 21, 1997, a monument was erected at Yuma, Arizona Airport, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Army Air Field. A bronze plaque, which incorporates Captain Aitken's emblem of the Fighting Fox, commemorates the aviators who trained at Yuma and who contributed so significantly to the successful aerial offensives conducted by the Army Air Forces during World War II. A second plaque below reads: The YAAF Foxie logo was designed in 1943 by the Director of Gunnery, Captain Russell B. Aitken, Russ's logo thus being immortalised in bronze. Aitken personally trained 36,000 pursuit pilots and made aces out of many. He won commendations from General Hap Arnold, as well as from the Royal Air Force for his liaison work. In 1942, while a member of the Army Air Force skeet team, he set a new world record at skeet of 742- straight without a miss, as well as a new world record for doubles-all-stations at skeet of 161- straight. Under his gunnery training, Yuma's single-engine Aviation Cadets achieved the highest aerial gunnery scores ever produced by any air corps of any nation.
The schläger is a souvenir of Russell Aitken's student days at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in 1932, where he practised fencing with florette, epée and sabre three nights a week at the War Ministry, and privately under both Josef Losert, champion of Austria, and Ellen Preis, then Ladies World champion. During that year he took photographs, published in Life Magazine, of secret Heidelberg-type student duels (mensur) and was made an honorary member of Korps Hilaritas, one of the top duelling fraternities at the University.
The fighting-knife and bayonet are souvenirs of Captain Aitken's war service