Reunions
WWII hero loses jacket only to have stranger return it to family decades later
Although more than 60 years had passed, he made it his mission to get the jacket home to its rightful owner.
Jessica
05.26.22

Pat Nesbitt was just 5 years old and undergoing treatment for polio when his uncle brought him home a gift – a WWII bomber jacket that someone left behind in his bar.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

It was the 1950s and Pat had a passion for memorabilia from the war that ended just a decade earlier since many of his family members had fought.

A jacket with “superpowers”

It was a pretty cool gift for a kid to get and the bomber jacket was something Pat held onto well into his teen years. In fact, he wore it for years.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

“When my uncle gave me the jacket, from 10 years old to 18, I put on the jacket because it gave me superpowers,” Pat told WJAC News.

Forty bombs are stamped on the outside of the jacket, indicating that the original owner flew 40 missions. Completing a tour of duty during WWII required committing to 25 missions – something not many bomber pilots survived.

“If he could do 40 missions in that jacket, I could sled down the cliff, and I did. Most people could come back after 25, but he didn’t. This guy was a superhero, and this is a jacket a superhero would wear,” Pat said.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

A well-traveled jacket

The owner of the bomber jacket lost his coat in a Tacoma bar, but Pat lived in Idaho as a child and in Oregon as an adult. But the jacket itself belonged in Arkansas, in the home of its owner.

Pat always knew who the jacket belonged to because the owner’s name was embroidered inside the coat – First Lt. Miles F. Blum.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

But in the days before the internet, it wasn’t easy to track people down, especially someone who left their jacket behind in a different state.

Missing pieces

We’ll never know to what extent Lt. Blum missed his jacket. After serving in WWII and the Korean War, Blum lost his life in a car accident in 1963.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

Blum left behind one child, a daughter Teri Sargent, who knew nothing about the jacket. She had inherited her father’s footlocker, but she hadn’t heard about the missing artifact.

Leaving behind a legacy

Recently, Pat considered what would happen to the jacket after he passes away. He doesn’t believe it belongs in a secondhand store. It has too much sentimental meaning to him. In fact, he’s worn it (and cared for it) so many times in the last 60 years that he’s had the zipper and cuffs replaced.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

And it’s more than just an item to keep the chill away – it’s given him strength since he was a child. It’s like a superhero’s cape.

Nesbit decided to try and find the original owner, or one of his descendants. But when one of his friends reached out to Sargent, after tracking her down on ancestry.com, she was understandably suspicious.

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YouTube - 40/29 News

“I thought well this is a scam,” she told Southern Living.

A happy reunion with a piece of history

Sargent finally realized this was the real deal after seeing a photo of the jacket with an ID number that matched the one on her father’s badge.

“It was daddy’s jacket,” she said. “It was so unexpected and so out of the blue. Just the thought that a complete stranger would reach out to someone to ensure that his jacket went to somebody that would take care of it and want it—and boy he found the right person—I feel so lucky.” “I took it out of the box, and all I could think to say was, ‘Welcome home, Daddy. You’re safe.'”

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YouTube - 40/29 News

A guardian angel

Sargent was also happy to hear about the jacket’s history with Pat.

“I feel like Pat needed the superhero jacket more than I did with what he was going through. And I think Daddy was with him. He said every time he took a trip, Miles was with him. Every time he sledded down a hill, Miles went with him, because he knew he couldn’t hurt himself as long as he had the jacket on. I guess the guardian angel of the jacket needed to be with Pat, and now it needs to be back with me, and it is.”

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YouTube - 40/29 News

Scroll down below to see a touching interview about the jacket and its return to its rightful owner!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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