Medal of Honor Sought for US Korean War Pilot

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
  • Author
  • Message
User avatar


Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 24760
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post28 May 2020, 03:28

Medal of Honor Sought for US Korean War Pilot
26 May 2020 Diane Bell

"E. Royce Williams is being called a forgotten hero in a forgotten war — a military pilot whose heroic action was never fully recognized because his mission was filed away as top secret.

Now members of American Legion Post 416 in Encinitas want to shed light on the retired Navy captain's distinguished service. They are campaigning to get him the Medal of Honor while he is still among us. Williams, now 95, spent 37 years forging a highly regarded career in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 1980. But it was one dog fight — about 35 minutes long, off the coast of North Korea on Nov. 18, 1952 — that made him a hero.

For 40 years, Williams was mum about that encounter. He didn't even tell his wife, Camilla — whom he met at age 11 in Sunday School — until 1992 or '93, he says, after dissolution of the Soviet Union in December of 1991. But the word didn't really get out until 50 years after the incident, after he was asked to address a military symposium in Pensacola, Fla.

On Nov. 18, 1952, Williams and three other Navy F9F-5 Panther pilots were dispatched from the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany to intercept seven Russian MiGs headed toward them from a Soviet base in Vladivostok. Early that morning, Williams had taken part in an attack in western North Korea near the Soviet border. Based on U.S. intelligence reports, it was believed the MiGs were seeking revenge....

...The four Panthers took off in a blustery snowstorm. It wasn't long before one of their jets developed a fuel pump problem and its pilot turned back toward the ship with his wingman as an escort. That left then-Lt. Williams and his wingman, pilot Dave Rowlands, to face seven much more sophisticated Soviet fighters. One of the downed MiG pilots was later reported to be a decorated war hero.

A MiG fired on Williams and the battle was on. He jockeyed for position and made a direct hit. As his wingman followed the wounded jet down into the clouds to document the kill, the other MiGs ganged up on Williams' plane. He shot another MiG as it flew alongside, then had to dodge the debris as the jet disintegrated....

...After downing the first MiG, Williams couldn't confirm his kills. "I was too busy to start counting. I would fire at a plane and then someone else would be on my tail and I had to maneuver and I couldn't tell what happened to the plane I shot," he says.

Call it a combination of skill, experience, instinct, sheer luck and true grit, but Nov. 18, 1952 was not Williams' day to die. Later it came out in military records that only two MiGs flew back toward Vladivostok that day. One, presumably damaged, was later said by a Russian military historian to have crashed en route to home.

Williams was forced to return to his carrier after being hit by a shell that damaged his hydraulic and electrical systems. He lost his rudder and most of his turning ability but retained his elevators so he could still go up and down. So, down he flew, headed for cloud cover with a MiG on his tail. He recalls jerking his plane higher and lower to evade a barrage of shots....

...He also discovered that his damaged plane couldn't fly below a speed of 170 knots (105 knots was his normal tailhook landing speed). He survived because, in an unusual move, the carrier captain changed the direction of the ship to align it with Williams' flight path.

Despite landing at breakneck speed, miraculously Williams' only injury was a bloody neck from the chafing of his extreme weather gear as he turned his head from side to side to engage the enemy. His Panther was in far worse condition with 263 holes, including a gash nearly a foot long...." [much more at the URL]

Source: ... pilot.html

1 US Pilot Dogfights 7 MiGs - Korea 1952

A4G Skyhawk: &

Return to Military Aircraft of the Cold War

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests