The F9F Panther was Grumman’s first production jet fighter, used extensively during the Korean War. It proved one of the United States Navy’s first successful carrier-born jet fighters and was the first jet fighter to be used by the Blue Angels aerobatics display team.
The F9F would remain the primary US Navy and USMC jet fighter and ground-attack aircraft of the Korean War, flying around 78,000 sorties in total. The Panther claimed the first US Navy aerial victory of the war claiming a prop-powered Yak-9 in July 1950.
In one little-known instance, a single Panther shot down four Mig-15s in a single 35 minute period, a unique feat for pilot Lt Royce Williams. This is in spite of the Panther’s relatively poor speed when compared to the nimble MiGs.
Other notable pilots of Panthers in Korea include first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong (who in fact bailed out during a combat mission when his aircraft was brought down by wire strung out across a valley), as well as fellow astronaut John Glenn and baseball star Ted Williams.
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