WWII jacket returned to owner’s family more than 60 years later

A World War II bomber jacket left behind at a Washington restaurant in the early 1950s was returned to the daughter of its original owner more than 60 years later.

Pat Nesbitt, who now lives in Molalla, Ore., said he was 5 years old and undergoing treatment for polio when his uncle gave him the leather bomber jacket he found abandoned at a Tacoma restaurant.

“When my uncle gave me the jacket, from 10 years old to 18, I put on the jacket because it gave me superpowers,” Nesbitt told KATU-TV. “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.”

Nesbitt said he kept the jacket in good condition over the decades.

“I oiled it, replaced the cuffs and the zipper. My biggest goal was to find somebody who would appreciate it as much as I did and eventually give it back to the family,” he said.

Nesbitt said the name of the jacket’s original owner, Miles F. Blum, was written inside the jacket’s lining, and in February he decided to enlist the help of friend Jerry Ferguson to try to find members of Blum’s family.

Ferguson used Ancestry.com to connect with Blum’s daughter, Teri Sargent of Bella Vista, Ark.

Sargent said her father died when she was only 14.

“My dad and I were joined at the hip. When he coached the church softball team, I was the bat girl. When he went to Dodger games, I went with him. We were very much alike, and I loved my dad a lot,” she said.

Sargent said Nesbitt was right about the jacket belonging to a “superhero.”

“He flew B24 bombers in that jacket. He flew 40 missions in that jacket. He was all over Europe, France, and Germany,” Sargent said.

Sargent received the jacket in the mail this month.

“All I could think to say was, ‘Welcome home daddy.’ Which is silly for a grown woman to say, but that’s what I felt. I could feel him there. I put my hand in the pocket, and I could feel him there,” Sargent said.