When you think of Navy Air in the Korean War, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Well for most people it is James Michner’s novel and movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri. As usual, the real story is better than fiction.
On Midrats this Sunday, please join fellow USNI blogger EagleOne and me with our special guest, holder of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War, CAPT Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. For those not familiar with his story, here is his MOH Citation;
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. (J.G.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. (J.G.) Hudner’s exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
For the second half of the hour, our guest will be author of Such Men as These: The Story of the Navy Pilots Who Flew the Deadly Skies over Korea, David Sears.
Stuck between the Greatest Generation’s high-water mark of World War II and the Baby Boomer’s Vietnam War – the Korean War often gets lost in the shuffle despite its critical role is setting the foundation for the Cold War and our ultimate victory with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Join us as we give them the air time they deserve.
If you happen to be in DC soon, you will have more opportunities. At The Navy Memorial in DC there will be a special event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War. On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 6:00 PM David Sears will host a lecture on his new book, followed by Q&A, a book signing, and a screening of The Bridges at Toko-Ri.
For Midrats though, it is today at 5pm. Catch it live if you can and join the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed – you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio – or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.