August 1951 – Neil Armstrong began flying reconnaissance and bombing missions as a Navy pilot during the Korean War.
During a low-altitude bombing run, Armstrong’s aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and lost a part of the right wing after a collision with a pole. The F9F continued to fly, and Armstrong flew it back towards friendly territory, planning to eject over Navy-controlled waters. After ejecting from the crippled aircraft, Armstrong ended up on land, and was soon rescued.
Flying the F9F-2B Panther, Armstrong would fly 78 combat missions totalling 121 hours. He would leave the Navy in 1952, becoming a reserve officer with the rank of lieutenant (Junior Grade), and retire fully from the Navy in 1960
In the above photo, Ensign Neil Armstrong is flying 116, as wing-man to Lt. Ernie Moore in 107.