Among the most significant “firsts” achieved by the “Fourth But First” was James Jabara becoming the world’s first all jet ace in the Korean War. Not only was this an accomplishment that garnered Jabara eternal fame in world history, he achieved this distinction in the most difficult of circumstances.
James Jabara was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Oct. 10, 1923. He was first generation American, his family was from Lebanon. He was raised in Wichita, Kansas, and said to be a patriotic American with a great work ethic. Jabara worked in the family grocery store and earned the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts. Young Jabara probably never realized that his amazing future was hurtling at him at supersonic speed.
With World War II underway, Jabara entered flight school as a teenager and earned his wings in 1943. He flew a P-51 Mustang in the 363rd Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force in Europe. Jabara flew more than 100 combat missions, was credited with destroying 1.5 German planes, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war Jabara remained in the Air Force and became a jet pilot.