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Leading Jet Ace: Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr.

Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. wore this scarf in combat. It is the same scarf pictured in the photograph.The flying horse insignia was for McConnell’s 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing. The cobra insignia was for his 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. “Butch” was McConnell’s nickname for his wife, Pearl, who donated the scarf to the museum.   (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. wore this scarf in combat. It is the same scarf pictured in the photograph.The flying horse insignia was for McConnell’s 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing. The cobra insignia was for his 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. “Butch” was McConnell’s nickname for his wife, Pearl, who donated the scarf to the museum. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. in the cockpit of his F-86, which shows his 16 kills as red stars. “Beauteous Butch” referred to his nickname for his wife, Pearl. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. in the cockpit of his F-86, which shows his 16 kills as red stars. “Beauteous Butch” referred to his nickname for his wife, Pearl. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Photograph of Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. taken on May 18, 1953, the day he scored his last three kills. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Photograph of Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. taken on May 18, 1953, the day he scored his last three kills. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Capt. James Jabara and Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. exhibits in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Capt. James Jabara and Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr. exhibits in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The leading jet ace of the Korean War was Capt. Joseph McConnell Jr., who scored his first victory on Jan. 14, 1953. In a little more than a month, he gained his fifth MiG-15 victory, thereby becoming an ace.

On the day McConnell shot down his eighth MiG, his F-86 was hit by enemy aircraft fire, and he was forced to bail out over enemy-controlled waters of the Yellow Sea west of Korea. After only two minutes in the freezing water, a helicopter rescued him. The following day he was back in combat and shot down his ninth MiG. By the end of April 1953, he had scored his 10th victory to become a "double ace."

He scored his last victories on May 18, 1953. That morning McConnell shot down two MiGs in a furious air battle and became a "triple ace" with 15 kills. On another mission that afternoon, he shot down his sixteenth and final MiG-15.

On Aug. 25, 1954, McConnell crashed to his death while testing an F-86H at Edwards AFB, Calif.

Click on the links below to learn more about McConnell. 

Personal Account from McConnell
Description of the Mission when McConnell was Shot Down

Click here to return to the Air Superiority Overview.

 

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