I remember the F-86Ds blasting out of Westover AFB in the evening at this time of year. Big ole' flame coming from the 'burner. After seeing Movietone clips of them launching their 24 Mighty-Mouse rockets into the sky, with several invariably going astray, I used to wonder just how effective the aircraft really was. But like they say, one hit with one of those 2.75-inchers was a kill.
While operating F-86Ds, the 37th FIS at Burlington, VT had an experience that was widely misreported as "FIGHTER SHOOTS ITSELF DOWN!" Years later, I read the true story in "The First Line", a great book on USAF interceptors of that era by Bill Green. It seemed that the Underhill Range in Vermont had been set up with a target on the ground so the Sabre Dog boys could go into a shallow dive and fire their rockets (There was nowhere else east of the Mississippi where they could do this, except perhaps for Eglin or Tyndall). Early in the Underhill program this guy fired on the ground target but the rocket tray was still in the retracted position! One or two of the rockets blasted into the lower nose section of the aircraft directly out of the retracted tray, and the pilot make a quick ejection-and lived to tell about it.
With that Pluto nose the F-86D was easy to laugh at. Still, there were many, many squadrons that equipped successfully with the type. Perhaps most importantly, it was a single-seat all-weather interceptor of acceptable reliability, and as such, it was years ahead of its time.