Col. Ralph Sherman Parr, F-80 Pilot of 49th FBW, Korea 1950

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  1. On July 27, 1953, then Capt. Ralph S. Parr Jr. scored the last aerial victory of the Korean War by shooting down an Ilyushin IL-12 on the day of the armistice. Parr continued his career and became one of America’s most experienced combat veterans. He completed five combat tours in four different aircraft and flew 641 combat missions in three wars. In 1950, while assigned to an F-86 Sabre unit, he was selected to fly the F-80 Shooting Star for the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing in Korea. His first 10 hours in the F-80 included 5 hours on combat missions.

    Parr was born in 1924 in Portsmouth, Va. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on Nov. 4, 1942, and he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program on Feb. 2, 1943, earning his wings and a commission in the U.S. Army Air Forces on Feb. 8, 1944. Lt . Parr flew P-38 Lightnings in the Pacific during the last year of the war and then went into the Air Force Reserve from September 1946 to February 1948.

    After returning to active duty, Parr transitioned into jet fighters and saw combat duty as an F-80 pilot during the opening days of the Korean War and then again as an F-86 pilot during the last 7 weeks of the war, where he managed to shoot down 10 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, including being credited with the last aircraft shot down of the Korean War.

    He developed and practiced new air-to-air tactics for over a year, hoping to return to Korea. In May 1953, he did return to Korea to fly with the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron during the final 7 weeks of the war. He hit every aircraft at which he fired and became an ace in just 11 days. He finished the war as a double ace when he scored the last kill of the Korean War. He next served as the USAF Air Defense Weapons Center and with the 73d Air Division before going to the Netherlands as a member of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was Command Post Director at MacDill AFB, Fla.

    In 1963, he helped bring the F-4C into the USAF inventory and was one of its first instructor pilots. He served as an F-4 squadron commander and then flew the aircraft on two combat tours in Southeast Asia. He earned the Air Force Cross while serving as Deputy Commander for Operations of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. During the siege of Khe Sanh, despite extremely poor weather and intense enemy fire, he attacked and destroyed two North Vietnamese mortar and six gun positions. On his second SEA tour, he returned to the same wing as Deputy Commander and then Commander.

    Following Vietnam, he was assigned to HQ USAFE before being sent to Teheran, Iran in 1972 as Chief of Staff in the Military Assistance Advisory Group. His next duty assignment was at Eglin AFB, Fla., as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Tactical Air Warfare Center and then Chief of Staff of the Armament and Development Test Center. When he retired in 1976, Colonel Parr had flown over 6,000 hours in fighter aircraft and earned more than 60 decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 41 Air Medals.

    June 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

  2. Csaba

    That plane is a Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star was (49th FBG, 7th FBs) crashed Nov 5, 1950.

    June 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm

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