Colonel James Jabara Was The First Jet Fighter Ace And Second Highest Scoring Ace Of The Korean War

Col. James Jabara

A teenage kid in desperate need of glasses usually sees becoming a pilot as more of a long shot than an achievable dream. However, a young James Jabara wouldn’t let a pair of glasses stand in his way.

Jabara was determined to become a pilot, and according to Witchita State University Professor Craig Miner, Jabara consumed 20 carrots daily for quite some time so his eyesight would improve-and it worked.

Exceptional Pilot

Jabara not only became a pilot, but he also became a celebrated Ace. He gained a plethora of experience in Europe during World War II, flying more than 100 missions.

All of this was achieved before he was 20. He said all of his discipline came from his time in the Boy Scouts of America and his Lebanese grocer father.

In an interview with Parade magazine, he said he wasn’t a killer by instinct. Instead, he said it was about training which he applied to himself and his students. The pinnacles of that training are air discipline, aggressiveness, and aerial gunnery.

Jet vs. Jet Ace

Jabara took out his first plane on April 3, 1951. By May 20, he took out his fifth and sixth, making him a jet ace. In that battle, 28 Sabre jets took on 50 MiGs by Sinuiju in northwest Korea. Unfortunately, Jabara’s plane was malfunctioning. His wind fuel tank would not release, and he needed both hands on the stick.

He choose to attack the MiGs anyway, scoring one kill. Though he no longer had his wingman, he continued. He was under attack from a group of MiGs when some other Sabres approached and offered some assistance.

Jabara was the first jet ace in America but is also considered by many to be the first jet ace in the world. Many German pilots were hailed as aces during World War II, but they were not flying jets.

While Jabara was on his 163 missions in Korea, he took out two planes a day at least two more times. Jabara was the youngest Air Force when at the age of 42, he was prepping to leave for Vietnam and died in a car accident.

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