“Ted and I flew together a lot,” Glenn recalls near the end of a chapter on Korea.”Ted flew about half his missions as my wingman. He was a fine pilot, and I liked to fly with him.”
– Major John “Old Magnet Ass” Glenn, recalling his days of flying with famed baseball player, Ted Williams, during the Korean Conflict
To round out this month’s product spotlight, we have this handsome North American F-86F Sabre jet, bearing the markings of “MiG Mad Marine”, the plan John Glenn flew over Korea during the 1950s era Korean Conflict (HA4312).
After WWII, Glenn was assigned to VMF-311, flying the new F9F Panther jet interceptor. He flew his Panther in 63 combat missions during the Korean War, gaining the dubious nickname “magnet ass” from his apparent ability to attract enemy flak. Twice he returned to base with over 250 flak holes in his aircraft. Glenn flew for a time with Ted Williams, a future hall of fame baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, as his wingman.
Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour on an inter-service exchange program with the United States Air Force. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86F Sabre, and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the cease fire.
On November 20th, 1951, squadron pilots received their new F-86 Sabre aircraft and went to face the Chinese, North Korean, and Soviet pilots in their MiG-15 aircraft. Major William T. Whisner Jr. got his fifth MiG kill on February 23rd, 1952, becoming an Ace.
When the 51st Group adopted a checkered design for its F-86 tail markings, it also received the designation “Checkertails”. The red squadron colors appeared in the design. Thus, the Assam Draggins of World War II became known as the “Checkertails” of the Korean War.