I understand that Veterans Day was yesterday, but it is observed today, so this post is still fitting. Ted's Army reader Kevin S. brought this article to our attention a couple months ago. An remembering Ted Williams as a Marine Fighter Pilot, written by a former Marine. There is a lot of talk of Ted's baseball career as well.
United States Marine ground crewmen at Suwon's K-13 Airbase in Korea were alerted that trouble was afoot when they noticed the crash, fire and rescue crews hurriedly manning their emergency vehicles on 16 Feb. 1953. The source of that trouble quickly became apparent when a Marine fighter plane appeared on the horizon.
The midnight-blue F9F "Panther" jet was coming in "heavy" and very fast. Its sluggish movements, trailing smoke and streaming 30-foot ribbon of fire all indicated serious danger. The pilot obviously was having difficulty controlling his aircraft, but he was too low to eject. His only course, therefore, was to try to bring his crippled aircraft in.
An already tense situation became worse when an explosion rocked the undercarriage as the plane approached the airstrip. The stubby fighter plane made a wheels-up "belly" landing, skidding along the tarmac with sparks flying for almost a mile before coming to a stop. The nose promptly burst into flames that threatened the cockpit. The trapped aviator blew off the canopy, struggled out of the plane and limped away, hitting the ground in a less-than-perfect baseball slide.
The plane was a total wreck, but the fortunate pilot suffered only minor scrapes. Later, the airmen at Suwon learned they had witnessed the dramatic escape of the most famous flying leatherneck in Korea; that lucky pilot was none other than Ted Williams, a star professional baseball player who was serving as a Marine reservist.
This Article is quite dated, but still a good read if you have a few minutes to spare.