Colonel James "Jabby" Jabara
US Air Force
During World War II,
Lieutenant James Jabara flew two tours of combat duty in Europe as a P-51
pilot, including 108 combat missions. When the war in Korea began, "Jabby", now
a Captain, and married man, left his wife, Nina Stiles Jabara, and kids in
McKinney, and was off again to serve his country. On 20 May, 1951, having
already shot down three North Korean/Russian jet fighters, Jabara, flying an F86
fighter, shot down two MIG-15 Russian-made
jets, making him the first American Jet Ace in history.
By 1966 Jabara had risen to the rank of Colonel, being the youngest Colonel in the Air Force at the time, and was on the list to be promoted to General. On 17 November, 1966, while waiting deployment to the war in Vietnam, he and his daughter were involved in an auto accident in Florida, killing them both. Colonel James "Jabby" Jabara was 43. He and his daughter, Carol Anne were buried together in a single grave at Arlington National Cemetery. His grandson, Lt. Nicholas Jabara, graduated from the Air Force Academy and was killed in a T-37 accident in 2002.
Awards, World War II & Korea:
Distinguished Service Cross, May 22, 1951
Silver Star, June 7, 1951
Silver Star, Oak Leaf Cluster, September 10, 1953
Distinguished Flying Cross, Nov. 22, 1944
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, May 29, 1945
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, April 30, 1951
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, June 4, 1951
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, May 26, 1953
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, June 10, 1953
Distinguished Flying Cross Oak Leaf Cluster, June 16, 1953
Air Medal May 29, 1944 (24 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Distinguished Flying Cross, British, Dec. 1, 1955
Photos of James Jabara on display in the US Air Force Museum.
||20 May, 1951, becomes first Jet Fighter Ace in history.||Major Jabara during a mission debriefing on 2nd tour in Korea.|
Eddie Rickenbacker on left, with James Jabara
Artist's rendition of Jabara's famous kill
Capt. Jabara's F-86
10/10/1923 - 11/17/1966
Section 2 Site E-478-C
Distinguished Service Cross
|To see a very good documentary from the Military Channel on Captain James Jabara and his famous feat in 1951 GO HERE|
McKinney Courier Gazette,
April 1, 1951:
US Fifth Air Force Headquarters, Korea May 31- Capt. James Jabara of Wichita, Kansas, who became history’s first jet ace, was relieved of combat flying duties today. Fifth Air Force Headquarters announced that Jabara has been reassigned as an instructor in jet-to-jet aerial combat tactics in Japan. In a tradition which has its roots in World War One, a pilot is considered an Ace when he shoots down his fifth plane. Jabara became an Ace when he got two confirmed “kills” Sunday in a furious battle over northwest Korea near Singiju. This ran his total to six. Three of the fast Russian-built Mig-15s were shot down when 26 F-86 Sabrejets tangled with 50 Migs on the Korean side of the Yalu river which separates Korea from Manchuria.
Describing the Sunday battle, Jabara said,”I was in the second flight. I tacked on to three Migs at 35,000 feet, picked out the last man and bored straight in. I fired two bursts which ripped up the fuselage and left wing. The Mig burst into flames. At about 10,000 feet the pilot bailed out. Just as he jumped the Mig disintegrated into a thousand pieces of flaming debris. I climbed to 20,000 feet to get back into the battle and immediately bounced back on six more Migs. I closed in and fired two bursts into one of them, scoring heavily both times. After the first volley he started to belch flames and the second burst caught him square in the middle. He fell into an uncontrolled spin and all I could see of him was a whirl of fire. I had to break off at this time, there was a Mig on my tail.
Jabara has been fighting against enemy jets since December, damaging his first on December 30. He was a pre-jet Ace in World War II when he had a total of six and a half enemy planes destroyed. He flew propeller driven F-51s over Europe and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal.
Capt. Jabara, officially a Kansan, is an adopted Texan, his wife being the former Miss Nina Stiles of McKinney. She and her two small children are making their home with her mother here in McKinney, while her husband is overseas. They reside in the Crawford Apts. 206 S. Kentucky St. of this city.
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