Thomas Hudner's MoH Story...

Discussion in 'Stories' started by lesofprimus, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,162
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Communications
    Location:
    Long Island Native in Mississippi
    Home Page:
    This guy was truly one of the Bravest people I have ever read about... Talk about an unselfish act...


    Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown
    US Navy Corsair Pilots, Heroes of the Korean War
    Brown - the Navy's First Black Aviator
    Hudner - earned the Medal of Honor trying to save Brown's life

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Flying one thousand feet above the icy Korean mountains, the Corsair's engine cut out. At such a low altitude, the pilot, US Navy Ensign Jesse Brown, couldn't bail out or clear the mountain. He spotted an opening that looked more or less flat, and in any case, it was his only choice. A wheels up, dead stick landing. The Navy's first African American aviator probably thought that he had been through worse than this, being hazed and harassed throughout his pioneering Naval career. The F4U went down heavily and smashed into the rough terrain, folding up at the cockpit. Sliding through the deep snow, the big fighter started smoking immediately.

    Lt. (Jg) Thomas Hudner and the other VF-32 pilots studied the situation on the ground as they circled overhead. This close to the Chosin Reservoir, Chinese Communist soldiers would be along soon. The crashed and burning aircraft was a hopeless wreck. At first the Navy fliers thought that Ensign Brown was dead. Then his wingman and roommate, Lt. William H. Koenig, noticed Brown waving to them through the open canopy of his Corsair. A rugged, prop-driven, big-nosed WWII design, the Chance Vought F4U normally could take a lot of damage. On this day, 4 December 1950, Brown had been tragically unlucky; some North Korean flak gunner had hit the plane in a vulnerable spot.

    Flight Leader Richard L. Cevoli radioed "Mayday" and called for helicopter rescue. A Sikorsky HO3S helicopter was dispatched, but would take at least 15 minutes to reach the stricken flier. Lt. Hudner looked down at his friend and flying mate. He promptly decided to go down and try to pull Brown out the smoldering aircraft. Hopefully, both pilots could then escape on the chopper.

    Hudner made one more tree-top pass and dumped his remaining fuel and ordnance. He dropped flaps and tailhook, and thumped the Corsair onto the ground. He hit a lot harder than he had expected. At 6,000 feet above sea level, the Corsairs' air speed indicator had understated the actual speed. Hudner began to wonder if this had been such a good idea.

    "I knew what I had to do," said Hudner in an interview by Frank Geary, for Jax Air News, the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., base newspaper. "I was not going to leave him down there for the Chinese. Besides, it was 30 degrees below zero on that slope, and he was a fellow aviator. My association with the Marines had rubbed off on me. They don't leave wounded Marines behind." Hudner tightened his harness and, with his wheels up, set his Corsair down onto the snow and rocks some 100 yards from Brown's smoking aircraft. "He was alive, but barely, when I got onto his wing and tried to lift him out of the cockpit. But his right leg was crushed and entangled in metal and instruments. I hurried back and requested a rescue helo, making sure it would bring an ax and a fire extinguisher. When I got back to Brown, I began packing snow around the smoking cowling. "When a two-man Marine helicopter arrived with only its pilot, the ax he carried proved useless in our efforts to hack away the metal entrapping Brown's leg. He was going in and out of consciousness and losing blood. "The helo pilot and I, in our emotion and panic, and with the light of day fading, discussed using a knife to cut off Jesse's entrapped leg. Neither of us really could have done it, and it was obvious Jesse was dying. He was beyond help at that point. The helo pilot said we had to leave. Darkness was setting in and we'd never get out after dark," said Hudner. "We had no choice but to leave him. I was devastated emotionally. In those seconds of our indecision, Jesse died."

    The next day four Corsairs from Leyte flew over Ensign Brown's plane, and in tribute to a fallen comrade, napalmed the wreckage. The location is Latitude 40 degrees, 36 minutes N; Longitude 127 degrees, 6 minutes East. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional courage, airmanship, and devotion to duty in the face of great danger.

    On April 13, 1951, President Harry Truman presented Hudner with the Medal of Honor in a simple ceremony that included Daisy Brown, Jesse Brown's widow. Despite their different backgrounds, Hudner and Brown had been drawn together by a simple, but powerful brotherhood-a bond graced by a singular and courageous act.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Medal of Honor Citation
    Lieutenant (j.g.) Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr., United States Navy

    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.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    USS Jesse L. Brown

    In 1973, the United States Navy honored Ensign Brown by naming a frigate after him, the USS JESSE L. BROWN (FFT-1089). Captain Hudner stood beside Daisy Brown when the ship slid down the ways.
    In 1994, it was decommissioned and sold to Egypt. Brown’s flying companion, retired Capt. Thomas Hudner, decried the sale and the neglect of Brown’s story, saying, "We need everything we can in race relations."
     

    Attached Files:

  2. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    19,980
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    that's amazing...........
     
  3. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,162
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Communications
    Location:
    Long Island Native in Mississippi
    Home Page:
    I thought so too....
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    It takes one heck of a hero to do what he did. An ordinary man, doing an extraordinary thing, that's a hero!
     
  5. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,162
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Communications
    Location:
    Long Island Native in Mississippi
    Home Page:
    And whats great about it, is that the guy didnt do it to be a hero, he did it to save the life of his buddy and wingman... At the possible cost of his own life, or captivity....
     
  6. MichaelHenley

    MichaelHenley Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Home Page:
    Why did it start smoking if there was all that snow arorund? Wouldn't it have melted?
     
  7. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    19,980
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    i think what guy gibson did on the night of 16/17 May 1943 was pretty amazing, flying alongside the attacking pilot to draw the flack away, i wonder how many of us could have done that...............
     
Loading...

Share This Page