06 November 2008

A shout-out to Grandpa Warren

Yesterday, I took a quick bullet train trip to Daejeon, to visit a decent science museum there. The museum had an outdoors exhibit area showcasing some older military equipment, and while I normally don't show much interest in war machinery, this exhibit certainly caught my attention.

This is the North American F-86F Sabre. It was one of the first jet fighters to see service, and served the US Air Force during the Korean War. During the war, Sabre pilots shot down 792 MiG-15's while losing only 78 of their own. This example, however, is not a USAF example, but flew for the South Korean Air Force between 1955 and the late 1960s before being replaced by the F-5; South Korea had to make do with P-51 Mustangs and other prop planes during the war itself (and had been dragged into the war with no real air force at all).

For Sarah, the F-86 is important, because her maternal grandfather, Warren, was a USAF pilot during the Korean War, busy shooting down those Soviet MiG's. Warren is the one who inspires Sarah to take an interest in aviation, after countless stories of his service in the Korean War and all sorts of weird facts about the F-86, the MiG-15, and the Gloster Meteor, the British Royal Air Force's own jet fighter in the Korean War.

I loved being reminded of Grandpa Warren and his service here in Korea - as well as Sarah herself and her own service over the Korean (and other nations') skies, though in a very different capacity.

As I returned to Daejeon's train station to start my return to Seoul, I was able to get the updates from the US presidential race, with Barack Obama confirmed as the winner. Both Sarah and I should be rejoicing, as W has been horrible to both the LGBT community and the economy (especially Sarah's employer), and Obama will certainly make improvements. However, the enthusiasm has been severely dampened, as the South Korean governmental interference in US politics, in the form of California's gay marriage ban, is apparently successful, though the last time I checked, some votes still needed to be counted, it's still quite close, and the final word is not out yet.

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