The United States of America lost a true hero and icon Thursday as John Glenn died at the age of 95.
Glenn is best known for what he did as an astronaut, essentially becoming the face of the American space program.
Glenn also served his country in two wars. He was a Naval pilot who served in both World War II and the Korean War.
It was in the Korean War that Glenn flew with Boston Red Sox legend and baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams as his wingman.
“By luck of the draw, we went to Korea at the same time,” Glenn said in an MLB.com obituary for Williams after the outfielder died in 2002. “We were in the same squadron there. What they did at that time, they teamed up a reservist with a regular to fly together most of the time just because the regular Marine pilots normally had more instrument flying experience and things like that. So Ted and I were scheduled together. Ted flew as my wingman on about half the missions he flew in Korea.”
Glenn, like everyone else, realized Williams’ skills as a baseball player, but it was the Red Sox star’s service that impressed him the most.
“Much as I appreciate baseball, Ted to me will always be a Marine fighter pilot,” Glenn said. “He did a great job as a pilot. Ted was a gung-ho Marine.”
The respect, of course, was mutual.
“Oh … could he fly an airplane. Absolutely fearless. The best I ever saw. It was an honor to fly with him,” Williams told the Chicago Tribune in 2002.
Thumbnail photo via Times Recorder via USA TODAY Network
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