Veterans

July 26, 2012

Korean War fighter jet pilot recalls missions

by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

He flew fighter planes his entire career, and as a wingman during the Korean War in 1952 and 1953, he flew 100 missions and extended his tour to perform 25 more.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. William Earl Brown Jr. spent 34 years in the military, but his experiences as a young pilot in the Korean War left a lasting impression, he said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel.

In Korea, Brown said, he flew the F-86 Saber fighter jet, the first operational swept-wing aircraft in the Air Force inventory.

“Our mission was to prevent the MiGs from attacking the other aircraft. The MiG-15s were being flown by the Chinese communists and by active-duty Soviet fighter wings.”

A typical mission took up to two hours. “If we were lucky, we’d run into the MiGs and manage to down a few of them,” he added.

As a wingman, Brown flew with a more-experienced major or captain in the lead, many of whom had World War II experience. They flew in flights of four, in “fingertip” formation with a leader and a wingman, and an element leader and a wingman, he explained.

“The wingman’s job was to look to the rear and protect the leader from any aircraft closing [in] to shoot him,” Brown said. “And the second lieutenants were invariably assigned to the jobs as wingmen, while the captains and majors would shoot down the MiGs.”

Brown said he was fortunate to fly with some good aviators in the Korean War.

“I’d been flying maybe 10 or 15 missions and never saw a MiG,” he said, “Except one day, … I was No. 4 in a flight. A MiG-15 that was obviously flown by a guy who was superior to me in skill latched onto me.”

The MiG was so close, Brown said, he could hear the sound of its guns firing. It had two 23 mm cannons in addition to a larger one, compared to the Americans’ six machine guns – three on each side of the aircraft.

Brown said he is alive today because his element leader came in behind the MiG, and while it shot at Brown, the element leader poured bullets into the MiG and shot the aircraft down. “That encounter really got my attention,” he said. “Up until that point, I had no real understanding of what it meant to have some guy really try to kill you.”

Brown, an African-American, said he didn’t face any discrimination during the Korean War.

“I never ran into the kinds of discriminatory practices that the Tuskegee airmen had to face when they began flying in the Air Force,” he said. “One thing about flying in fighters [is] when you don the fighter pilot’s helmet and don the oxygen mask and pull down the visor, no one can see what color you are. All they can see is how you position your aircraft. Is it where it should be? Do you drop the weapons? Do they strike the target?

“I guess I was fortunate,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 20, 2015

News: Sale of U.S. arms fuels the wars of Arab states - As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. U.S. spending $1 billion to reassure European allies - From Army rotations...
 
 

News Briefs April 20, 2015

Last two Raiders give congressional medal to Ohio museum The last two ìDoolittle Tokyo Raidersî have presented their Congressional Gold Medal for permanent display at a museum in southwest Ohio. The medal arrived at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton in a ceremonial B-25 bomber flight. The medal was awarded by...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Space Solar Power Initiative established by Northrop Grumman, Caltech

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman’s Joseph Ensor (left) and Caltech’s Ares Rosakis (right) shake hands as part of the recent SSPI commemoration event held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasade...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton UAS conducts first flight with search radar

Navy photograph The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., April 16, to conduct its first flight from the naval base. The aircraft began sensor testing on April 18 and flew with its...
 
 

UTC introduces active side-sticks to large commercial aviation

UTC Aerospace Systems is introducing the world’s first active side-stick controller for large commercial aircraft. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. UTC Aerospace Systems’ Actuation & Propeller business unit is supplying the active side-sticks for the cockpit of the new Irkut MC-21 single aisle aircraft. The MC-21 family of aircraft will...
 
 

Boeing presents flight test 787 Dreamliner to air, space museum

Boeing, elected and community leaders joined together April 17 to celebrate the permanent display of one of the original 787-8 Dreamliner flight test airplanes at the Pima Air & Space Museum. “Boeing has a strong presence in Arizona and is proud to share this important achievement in aviation history with the community, our employees and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>