Jabara Airport in north Wichita is named for the world’s first jet ace – James Jabara.
To become an ace, one has to shoot down five enemy aircraft. Jabara was a triple ace, having destroyed 15 Soviet-built MIG-15 fighters and flying 163 missions during the Korean War.
During World War II, he completed more than 100 missions in Europe and shot down nine German planes.
One encounter was so close his plane collided with an enemy aircraft. The pilots bailed out and parachuted to safety on the ground, where Jabara and the German pilot stood and shook hands.
Jabara received his Air Force wings in 1943.
When Jabara received his Jet Ace Fighter Pilot status, the Air Force returned him to the States, where he received a standing ovation from Congress and a parade in Wichita.
Jabara trained pilots between the Korean and Vietnam War. In 1966 he asked for a 100-mission tour in Vietnam but, at age 43, he and his daughter were killed in an automobile accident.
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
During his military career, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with two stars, nine Distinguished Flying Crosses and 25 Air Medals. The Air Force Association in 1957 named him as one of the 25 men in the United States who had done the most to promote aviation.
Question: While growing up, Jabara’s eyesight was poor enough to require glasses. In order to prepare and pass the pilot’s eye examination, what did he do?
Answer to Wednesday’s question: One of Mad magazine’s illustrators who drew Alfred E. Newman for many years was Paul Coker, from Lawrence. Coker, an illustrator, has done freelance work for major companies including Hallmark Cards and has worked on the Rankin-Bass Television specials, including “Frosty the Snowman.”
Check back in this spot Friday for the answer to today’s question.