Last US ‘double ace’ of Korean War dies at 88

Ralph Parr

Ralph Parr, the last American double ace of the Korean War, died late last week at age 88.

Parr, a Virginia native who also flew in World War II and the Vietnam War, shot down 10 enemy aircraft in a seven-week period during the 1950-53 conflict.

He is the only individual to be awarded both the Distinguished Service Cross and its successor, the Air Force Cross.

Parr was one of just 11 Americans to achieve double-ace status by shooting down 10 or more planes during the Korean War.

Parr had undergone treatment for cancer in recent weeks at an assisted living facility in New Braunfels, Texas, where he died Friday, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

His death comes just five weeks after that of longtime friend and flying companion Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse, who had been the only other surviving double-ace from the Korean Conflict. Blesse also registered 10 kills.

Parr saw duty in the opening weeks of the war while flying an F-80 Shooting Star, then again during the last seven weeks of the conflict in an F-86 Sabre.

It was during the latter period that he notched his 10 victories, with the last coming on the final day of the war, a Soviet Ilyushin IL-12, representing the final kill of the Korean Conflict.

“You wind up either wanting to fight or not wanting to fight,” Parr told the publication Airman in September. “I made the decision I was going to fight to begin with. I didn’t think I could see anything up there that I thought would be able to take me.”

During the three wars, Parr flew nearly 650 combat missions and rose to the rank of colonel before retiring in 1976.

(Above: Ralph Parr during the Korean War. Photo Credit: San Antonio Express-News.)

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