Aircraft of Col. John Glenn

Some of the aircraft flown by the “pre-NASA” John Glenn

The world mourns the passing of Colonel John Glenn on December 8, at the age of 95. The accomplishments of his NASA career, as the first American to orbit the earth, and his 24 years as a United States Senator, place him in a unique and honored position in history. But his career as a Marine combat and test pilot was the crucible in the development of the “right stuff” that defined him. He flew, did battle, and set records in some iconic US aircraft. Let us remember him for these also.

World War II:

R4D Transport (a USN/USMC version of the DC-3S)

F4F Wildcat

F4U Corsair (59 missions)

Korean War:

F9F Panther Jet (63 missions)*

F86 Sabre Jet (27 missions)**

As Test Pilot:

FJ-3 Fury

F7U Cutlass

F8U Crusader***

*On some of the F9F missions, baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams flew as his wingman.

**He flew the F86 as part of an inter-service exchange with the Air Force.

***In 1957 he flew an F8U-1 in the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speeds, earning him one of his 6 Distinguished Flying Cross awards.

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