Why is this picture in Cloud9Photography.US' "Historically Significant Military Airplane Pictures Album"?
Answer: The photographer who took this picture, Clay Janson, was, in 1952, during the Korean War, a U.S. Marine Corps' photographer assigned to South Korea. One day, Clay was walking at a U.S. air base in South Korea, and he came across this U.S. Air Force fighter plane.
Note, I wrote "this U.S. Air Force fighter plane,", but, while this plane has "U.S. Air Force" painted on its tail, it also has painted on its side, in large red letters, outlined in gold, "MiG Mad Marine". So, what is the story? Why was, apparently, a Marine flying a U.S. Air Force fighter plane? Why would the U.S. Air Force let a Marine get away with painting in large letters on an Air Force plane a flying advertisement for a Marine?
When Clay let me use this picture for CLOUD9PHOTOGRAPHY.US, he told me these background facts: 1) During the Korean War, the U.S. Air Force encountered, for the first time, Soviet designed and built Mikoyan-Guryevich MiG-15 swept wing jet powered fighters. These MiG-15's had a lot of firepower, were fast, manueverable, and, in some areas, were superior to the U.S. Air Force's then current best fighter--North American Aviation's F-86 Sabre, which many believed was, at that time, the best fighter in the Free World. Sadly, the pilots who flew these MiG-15s [who were probably North Korean, Soviet, and Communist Chinese] initially established a kill ratio in their favor that shocked the U.S. Air Force; 2) the U.S. Air Force, early on during the Korean War, did not have enough excellent fighter pilots to fly the F-86 so the U.S. Air Force sent out a distress call to its sister services, urging excellent pilots in other branches of service to come fly the Air Force's best--the F-86 Sabre, in Korea, against the Communists; 3) the pilot of this F-86 was a U.S. Marine who volunteered and the Air Force deemed him good enough to fly an Air Force F-86 pilot; 4) the canopy rail of this F-86 has something telling painted on it which is historically significant. This lettering is clearly readable in a print of this picture: "Maj Glenn"; 5) this "Maj Glenn" also has painted on his airplane three red stars on the left side, below his helmet and to the right of the three .50 caliber machine gun ports and above the names of his three children--Lynn, Anne, and David; and 6) each of those red stars stands for a "MiG Kill"; thus, this Maj. Glenn was, at that time, credited with three air-to-air victories against MiGs, which made him two short of becoming an "ace".
Who was this "Maj Glenn"?
Answer: this "Maj Glenn" is John Glenn who went on to become a U.S. astronaut and a U.S. Senator from Ohio.
The U.S. Air Force assigned a code name to all Soviet airplanes. The code for the MiG-15 was, and is, "Fagot". It is presumed that that highly pejorative name is a play on words for the then common intense loathing for homosexuals.
As of 2009, this picture is around 57 years old, yet it is preserved, here, at CLOUD9PHOTOGRAPHY.US.
This picture, when printed as a large print, is sharp, and its color remains true and vibrant, similar to what Clay Janson saw in South Korea in 1952.
Clay's picture proves, again, the priceless value and wonder of a camera--its ability to preserve and to "freeze" time or at least an image from the past, long gone, never to be seen again.
This picture represents well a large part of what CLOUD9PHOTOGRAPHY.US is all about: Preserving aviation history recorded on film or digital and making large, high resolution, detail rich prints of same available to the public.
Question: What shot down those three MiG-15s? This F-86 or Maj. Glenn?
Answer: The pilot--Maj Glenn. The F-86 was only the indespensable tool that Maj Gleen used to be a professional, successful, aerial assassin. Glenn knew how to fight with this plane, and he did so skillyfully and successfully.
Fighter pilot proficiency is a short lived, vital, complex, skill. It takes a lot of time, big bucks, intense realistic training, serious study, and courage to become a highly skilled, effective, fighter pilot.
Thanks to true U.S. national assets--men like and including Maj. Glenn--and their highly skilled, dedicated ground support personnel--the U.S. Air Force ended the Korean War with a kill ratio substantially in favor of the U.S. Air Force. I think that kill ratio ended up being approximately 13: 1 or 14: 1, namely, for every U.S. fighter plane lost the Americans shot down 13 or 14 communist airplanes, securing air superiority for U.S.'s and United Nation's ground forces.