Flamm D. "Dee" Harper
August 1st 2008On August 1st, 2008, the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association lost a great friend and leader when Flamm D. Harper, known to everyone as "Dee," folded his wings.
`Dee' Harper was born on April 9th, 1920 in Rexburg, Idaho, but grew up in Ogden, Utah. He was accepted into the US Army Air Force during World War Two. Upon graduation from pilot training, `Dee' was assigned to the 479th Fighter Croup at Wattisham, England, just in time for the D-Day landings in France. Flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, `Dee' was shot down on July 15th, 1944, over German-occupied France, and spent the next twenty one days evading capture with the help of the French Resistance Forces.
When the war ended, `Dee' applied for, and was accepted into the new US Air Force, one of only 1400 applicants to be accepted as a regular officer. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, `Dee' asked for combat but was held back until 1953 when he was assigned to the 18th Fighter Bomber Group at Osan AB, South Korea, flying F-86F Sabres. On June 28th, 1953, bad luck bit `Dee' once again, as North Korean anti-aircraft fire hit his.Sabre and `Dee' was forced to bail out near the Yellow Sea. A helicopter picked him up the next day and delivered him to safety. But `Dee' was severely injured and forced to take a desk job with the 18th FBG as Operations Officer.
Following the end of the Korean War, Major `Dee' Harper was assigned to the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, serving as Director of Operations. In 1956 he went to Spain as an advisor to the Spanish Air Force, when that nation converted to F-86s. After a couple of tours with Headquarters, Tactical Air Command, `Dee' retired from the Air Force in 1970.
In 1986, `Dee' moved to Las Vegas, where he joined the newly formed F-86 Sabre Pilots Association. He served as the Association Secretary from 1992 to 1994, when he took over the reigns as President, serving until 1997. Following his reign as President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Assn., `Dee' was named Chairman Emeritus, serving in that capacity until his death.
As Editor of SabreJet Classics, I had the priviledge of knowing and working with `Dee' Harper for over 14 years. He was my mentor and all the good things that are seen with each issue of SabreJet Classics, are the result of policies initiated by `Dee'. More importantly, `Dee' was my good friend. We had many a lively discussion about the magazine and the association that he was so proud of. I will miss him greatly.
No portion of this article may be used or reprinted without permission from the President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association or the editor of Sabre Jet Classics magazine.
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