ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
by Albert S. Kelly
Sabrejet Classics is becoming more interesting with each edidon. Personally knowing so many of the contributors brings the magazine closer to home with many fond memories. As a matter of fact, I remember several incidents that happened while I was C.O. of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Group in Korea.
We had Major Hap Harris, a former B-17 jockey in World War 2, who became a Captain for National Airlines before being recalled for the Korea fracas. Hap always wanted to fly fighters, even during World War 2. But fate had it the other way and he ended up in, of all things, a BOMBER! Anyway, when Korea came Hap volunteered and worked it so he could go to jet fighter school at Nellis. He came to Korea as a 'rookie', but turned Into a super great fighter jock. Hap was a Flight Leader and flew a bunch of combat missions. He was also an instructor pilot in our group. Well, now my story;
With some of our new pilots came a young man named Mccarthy. I cannot recall his first name as he was always just Mac! Mac had beaucoup time flying AT-6s, but none in jets. Mac bugged the hell out of everyone to teach him to fly in the T-33. Each squadron at Suwon had a T-33 assigned. Mac would fly tow target or anything else to get in some jet time! And so it would be. He finally talked me Into letting him check out in an F- 86. Hap Harris agreed to work with him until he eventually checked out to fly combat in the 86. That was a day of Great Celebration for Mac!
He started flying combat on Major Harris' wing. It also seemed that whenever Mac got a sortie, the flight ran into MIGs. One day they got into a big hassle with a bunch of MIGs over the YaIu, and a few snagged onto Mac's tail and started shooting. Being ever the Mother Hen to his flight, Hap Harris started yelling to Mac over the radio - "Mac, Mac! Break right, break right!". Hap kept yelling at Mac over and over. Suddenly came a reply from Mac. The ever cool Mccarthy calmly said - "Heck Major, I can't! The stick is HUNG UP IN MY BEADS!!!" And he was laughing the whole time.
Mac was always a jolly, fun loving guy, loved and respected by all the jocks in the group. He was always joking and playing pranks on his fellow pilots. lt was not long until once again Mac was flying Hap Harris' wing and they were bounced by another bunch of MIGs near the River. One of the MIGs seemed to have Mac tattooed and was firing long bursts of cannon fire. Major Harris again could be heard screaming at Mac over the radio - "Suck it in Mac, suck it in!" After what seemed like an eternity, finally came that dry drawl from Mac - "Aw Major, don't worry. He's all fired out!" Now that's what I call really COOL
I don't know what happened to Mac after the war but I'm sure he was great fun with his friends and loved ones. Major Harris returned to National Airlines as a Captain and resumed his career. But not too many years later I learned that he had sufferred a heart attack and joined the other great fighter pilots In the sky.
There are a lot of other lighter stories about Korea. How many of you recall the Kemchi pots, the garlic smelling barbers, or a lovely Korean princess named Moonface, who served show at our mess hall at Suwon. I'd love to hear more of these great stories from the rest of you guys.
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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