Jayhawk insignia adorns “Korean War Hero”

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 in Alumni News and News

I spy…a Jayhawk!

This restored World War II and Korean War era F4U-4 Corsair fighter originally flew with the U.S. Naval Reserve Squadron VF-884, The Bitter Birds, based at Naval Air Station Olathe (now New Century Airport in Olathe, Kansas). The Reserve unit was created shortly after World War II and many of the squadron’s members were natives of northeast Kansas and the Kansas City area.

Restored F4U-4 Corsair fighter | photo courtesy of Jim Bryant | www.kualumni.org

Restored F4U-4 Corsair fighter | photo courtesy of Jim Bryant | www.kualumni.org

They chose as their insignia an irritated-looking Kansas Jayhawk wielding a bat with a nail in it. The unit was called to active duty in 1951 to fight in the Korean War. The unit served heroically; unfortunately 12 pilots were killed or remain missing in action in their two aircraft carrier tours during the war.

Inspired by the VF-884 insignia, in 1956 an Argentine Navy aircraft unit took the Jayhawk as their squadron insignia, but changed the blue body to green and the yellow boots to black. La Lora (female parrot) flew on these Argentine naval attack aircraft during the 1982 Falklands War and it is still displayed on the squadron’s aircraft today.

You just never know where a Jayhawk will turn up. Rock Chalk!

—Submitted by Jim Bryant, c’88, and originally posted in the Los Angeles Jayhawks Facebook group. Jim’s photos were taken at the 2014 National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, this past September. The aircraft’s name is “The Korean War Hero” and more information is available at www.koreanwarhero.com.

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