Dedicated to all the F-86 pilots who, though heavily outnumbered, battled for and took control of the air over North Korea during the Korean War.
When the first MiG-15s appeared in the skies over North Korea in late 1950, they were vastly superior in appearance to the United Nations aircraft then in use there. In response the U.S. Air Force rushed three F-86 squadrons to South Korea, later to be expanded to four wings. Vastly outnumbered in the beginning, the Sabre pilots took on their adversaries, flying fighter sweeps along the Yalu River border between China and North Korea, known as MiG Alley, and flying cover for fighter-bombers attacking North Korean targets. The MiGs flew from sanctuary bases in China, which were not allowed to be attacked.
The MiG-15 and the F-86 were roughly equal in air performance. The MiG could climb and accelerate faster and had a more lethal gun package. The F-86 was more maneuverable at high speeds, had a better gunsight and had much longer range. Sabre pilots were better trained, and they adapted to high altitude air combat better than their adversaries, devising air tactics that provided greater flexibility and initiative. By the end of the war the ratio of total confirmed F-86 kills to losses was exceptionally high.
The Sabre Pilots Association honors all who
flew F-86 combat missions in the Korean War. Meriting special recognition are the following Sabre pilots who attained "Ace" status by destroying five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat during the war.
[Names and numbers of victories listed]