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Colonel James Jabara

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The world's first jet-vs-jet ace was James Jabara of the U.S. Air Force who scored his initial victory on April 3rd, 1951 and his 5th and 6th victories on May 20. He was then ordered back to the U.S. for special duty. However, at his own request, he returned to Korea in January 1953. By June, he had shot down nine additional MiG 15s, giving him a total of 15 air-to-air jet victories during the Korean Conflict. Jabara was also credited with 1.5 victories over Europe during World War II. (The German Luftwaffe had 22 jet pilot aces during WWII but all claims were Allied prop-driven aircraft.)

James Jabara was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, October 10, 1923. He graduated from Wichita, Kansas, High School in May, 1942, and immediately enlisted as an Aviation Cadet at Fort Riley, Kansas.

After attending four flying schools in Texas, he received his pilot's wings and a commission as Second Lieutenant in October, 1943, at Moore Field, Texas.

He flew two tours of combat duty in Europe as a P-51 pilot, the first with the 363rd Fighter Group of the Ninth Air Force from January to October, 1944, and the second as a P-51 pilot with the 355th Group of the Eighth Air Force from February to December, 1945.

On November 17, 1966, Jabara, a colonel by that date, was killed in an automobile accident while traveling to a new assignment.


Courtesy United States Air Force Museum

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