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Check Six: HANG’s Conversion from F-86Es to F-86Ls

May 11, 2020
Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

This undated photograph shows then-Maj George Duncan between a F-86E Sabre and a F-86L Sabre Interceptor. The 199th Fighter Squadron transitioned from the “E” to the “L” model in late 1957 through early 1958. They had flown the “E’s” since 1954. The “L’s” assumed alert status on May 1, 1958 and were flown until 1961.

More than 6,000 F-86s were manufactured by North American Aviation’s Los Angeles, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, divisions. The first swept-wing airplane in the U.S. fighter inventory, the F-86 scored consistent victories over Russian-built MiG fighters during the Korean War, accounting for a final ratio of 10-to-1. All 39 United Nations jet aces won their laurels in Sabers.

Four models of the craft (F-86A, E, F and H) were day fighters or fighter bombers, while the F-86D, K and L versions were all-weather interceptors.

The conversion to these all-weather fighters presented major changes and challenges to the Hawaii Air National Guard. These changes and challenges are covered in a section of the HANG 25 – History of the Hawaii Air National Guard booklet.

Lt Col George R. Duncan retired in the late 1960s. He was one of the charter members of the Hawaii Air National Guard federally recognized on November 6, 1946.

From → History

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