In August 1944, Maj. Claude Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out. Hensinger kept the parachute he used as a pillow and blanket as he waited to be rescued. In 1947 his girlfriend Ruth used the parachute that had saved his life as material for her wedding dress.
The dress was also worn by their daughter and by their son’s bride before being gifted to the Smithsonian.