Joining Forces

Iran’s involvement with the international community was very different in 1963, when it deployed a quartet of F-86F Sabres to join a United Nations mission in the Congo. Flying alongside Swedish J 29 ‘Tunnans’ and further F-86s in the hands of pilots from the Philippines, they — and the Imperial Iranian Air Force personnel — proved their worthin an unfamiliar operating environment

Organisation des Nations Unies au Congo (ONUC) air power in Kamina during the UN secretary-general’s visit in 1963. The nearest aircraft are the four Imperial Iranian Air Force F-86Fs withserials 3-133, 3-140, 3-146 and 3-150. On the right are five Saab J 29Bs of Swedish Air Force squadron F 22, serials 29374, 29371, 29445, 29365 and 29393, and the ONUC F-86E(M)s, serials 19695, 19483, 19709, 19784 and 19542. The UNoperated DC-3 beyond was numbered 218, while the Sikorsky S-55/UH-19D helicopters are unknown.
Iranian F-86F pilots, two of whom flew in the UN mission, during an exercise at Dezful in 1962. Seated at front right is 1st Lt Mohammad Abol-Moluk; standing at left is 1st Lt Ismail Memari, who died a year later in an F-86F crash. VIA BABAK TAGHVAEE

Lumumba was later overthrown during a CIA-orchestrated coup by Joseph Mobutu, his chief of staff and head of the army. Mobutu seized power on 14 September 1960. Lumumba was handed over to Katanga by Mobutu and was murdered by Katangan and Belgian officers on 17 January 1961.

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