History of the American Aviator – Part 6 – The Korean War

Fresh off the high of their WWII victory, American flyboys soon found themselves engulfed in another conflict. In 1950, at the time of the United States’ entrance into the Korean War, faster jet powered aircraft had become widespread. The F-86 Sabre was the USAF’s answer to the Russian-made MiG 15.

40 US military service men achieved ace status, with the top 5 being Joseph McConnell, James Jabara, Pete Fernandez, George Davis, and King Baker – in that order. All served in some capacity in WWII as well. Hank Buttelman was the youngest ace of the war, claiming 5 wins in just 12 days. Read transcripts from a fascinating interview with Hank here.

Capt. Joseph McConnell, Jr. in his F-86 "Sabre"

Capt. Joseph McConnell, Jr. in his F-86 “Sabre”

The Korean War was perhaps the first installment of the larger conflict between the East (USSR and allies) and the West (the U.S. and its NATO allies). The conflict, better known as the Cold War, would last half a century and fuel future wars, as well as an epic Space Race. This space race would see the birth of NASA and a new breed of test pilot – the Astronaut.

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