by Bob Ingalls

My good friend Col. Jack Best told me this story which Ralph Parr later confirmed for me.

At one point during Jack's thirty year Air Force career, he was Commander of the 94th `Hat In The Ring' Squadron. Members of the squadron included `Boots' Blesse, Joe McConnell, and Ralph Parr.

The general commanding the wing to which the 94th Squadron belonged, issued an order that stated a" squadron commanders in his wing must qualify in all phases of gunnery in the F-86. Unqualified commanders would be reassigned!"

Jack Best had never been able to score more than a few hits on the aerial gunnery target. So Blesse, McConnell, and Parr worked out a plan that was guaranteed to get Jack qualified. Ralph would go on the aerial gunnery mission with Jack. But one of Ralph's guns would be loaded with ammunition colored the same as Jack's ammunition.

Guess what? After the mission, Jack was found to be qualified in all phases of gunnery in the F-86!

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