Bird: How Ted Williams described being John Glenn’s wingman

From Hayden Bird at the Boston Globe on December 8, 2016:

For several missions in the Korean War, the United States Marine Corps had one of the nation’s greatest ever baseball players flying alongside one of its (soon to be) greatest astronauts.

John Glenn, who died on Thursday at the age of 95, once led Red Sox great Ted Williams into battle. Williams, so often the dominant personality, was awed by Glenn.

“John Glenn? Oh … could he fly an airplane,” Williams once told the Chicago Tribune‘s Bob Greene. “Absolutely fearless. The best I ever saw. It was an honor to fly with him.”

Williams, who like Glenn also served in World War II, was called up as a reservist during the war in Korea. He was randomly assigned to be Glenn’s wingman.

“By luck of the draw, we went to Korea at the same time,” Glenn recalled after Williams’s death 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.”

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Originally published: December 9, 2016. Last Updated: December 9, 2016.