History of the
American Fighter Ace.
By Bill Hess with expanded text by Bill Martin
Little did the fighter Aces of 1945 realize that some of their
number would be in the skies fighting for their lives as soon
as 1950.Yet, when North Korea invaded South Korea in
June of that year it was time for the pilots of America's
fighter outfits to saddle up again and head for combat.
One of the first to see action was WWII fighter ace
James W. Little who shot down a Russian-built La-7 on
June 27, 1950. James Jabara shot down his fifth MiG-15
on May 20, 1951 to become America's first jet Ace.
Jabara would return to Korea for a second tour of combat
and finished up with a total of 15 victories.
The top-scoring Ace of the Korean War was a former WWII
navigator by the name of Joseph McConnell with 16 kills.
A number of old pro fighter aces from WWII were in action
over Korea and many added to their scores and seven of
them became aces in their second war. These "two-war"
aces were George A. Davis, Jr., Francis S. Gabreski,
Vermont Garrison, James Hagerstrom, Harrison Thyng
and William T. Whisner.
The Navy had one Ace to come out of the Korean War -
Guy P. Bordelon, who scored five victories flying at night in
F4Us. Marine ace John F. Bolt, the only Marine to become
an ace in two wars, became a jet ace in F-86s while
attached to the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing. Three Air
Force pilots and one Marine pilot became Aces in the
Korean War by adding World War II victories to those
scored in Korea to achieve a total of five.