32 years old
39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron,
January 30 1922 – August 25 1954
At the age of 28, Joseph McConnell was considered too old be a jet
pilot in Korea, but he wouldn’t let that stop him. He persisted and
was assigned to 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 51st
Fighter-Interceptor Wing in 1952 and was credited with shooting down
16 enemy planes in a four month period and became America’s first
Triple Jet Ace when he shot down three of those planes in a single day.
“...After returning to his home in Apple Valley, California, McConnell was stationed at George Air Force Base and continued flying F-86s. On 6 August the people of Apple Valley gave a new home, the “Appreciation House”, to Capt. McConnell. The house was completed in 45 hours with all land, material, and labor donated.
In 1954 he was temporarily assigned to the service test program for the new F-86H. This was the last and most powerful version of the Sabre, and was intended to be a nuclear-capable fighter-bomber.
On 25 August 1954, while testing the fifth production F-86H-1-NA (serial number 52-1981) at Edwards Air Force Base, McConnell was killed in a crash following a control malfunction.
The cause of the accident was attributed to a missing bolt.
Then-Major Chuck Yeager was assigned to investigate the crash, and replicated the malfunction at a much higher altitude; this height advantage allowed him to safely regain control of the aircraft before it hit the desert floor.
The 1955 film The McConnell Story, starring Alan Ladd and June Allyson, chronicles his life story. The book Sabre Jet Ace (1959) by Charles Ira Coombs chronicled his experiences as a fighter pilot in Korea in a fictionalized biography for young readers.
In May 2008 Pearl McConnell, Beautious Butch, died at the age of 86. She had never remarried and was buried with Captain McConnell….”
This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Michael
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When
There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look
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