James Jabara was born October 10, 1923, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Jabara moved to Wichita, Kansas, when he was nine years old. After high school he joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. Jabara served in two tours as a P-51 pilot, and flew more than one hundred combat missions. After World War II Jabara went to the Tactical Air School at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida before being stationed at Okinawa in 1947. During the Korean War Jabara became the world’s first jet ace pilot, credited with successfully shooting down 15 enemy planes. After the Korean War Jabara became a flight instructor at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts. While preparing for the Vietnam War Jabara and his daughter were killed in an automobile accident November 17, 1966, near Delray Beach, Florida. Both Jabara and his daughter were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An airport in Wichita, Kansas was named Colonel James Jabara Airport in his honor.
Entry: Jabara, James
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: January 2016
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