Tag Archives: korea

WWII Pilot, Winged Astronaut Dies

Air Force Maj Gen (Ret) Robert White died in Florida this past week.  He was a P-51 pilot in World War II before eventually becoming famous as an X-15 pilot.  He also served during the Korean War and flew combat sorties in Vietnam.

White achieved Mach 6 in the X-15 and also became the first “winged astronaut” when he flew the X-15 to a height of 314,750 feet, more than the 50 mile requirement for the Air Force to bestow astronaut status.

Chaplain Considered for Medal of Honor

Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun, a World War II and Korean War Chaplain who died in captivity in North Korea, was recommended for the Medal of Honor by outgoing Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.

According to the Stars and Stripes,

Kapaun was captured by the Chinese in the fall of 1950, when Communist forces overran the 1st Cavalry Division in northern Korea near the Chinese border. American commanders had ordered their forces to retreat, but Kapaun, a Catholic priest with the 3rd Battalion, refused and stayed to care for the men who couldn’t flee.

Stripes also called Kapaun a “prisoner of war,” which while commonly understood is technically inaccurate.  Read more

Book Review: Battle Hymn

Dean Hess
Buckeye Aviation Book Company, Reynoldsburg, OH, 1987.
Topic: Christianity and War

Battle Hymn is the true story of a preacher who became a fighter pilot and fought in World War II and Korea. Col Dean Hess is largely credited with the forming the Republic of Korea (South Korea) Air Force and being the driving force behind Operation Kiddy Car, in which hundreds of orphans were flown out of Seoul to avoid the Communist invasion.

Though some sources question the bravado of Col Hess, the story presents an interesting look at a spiritual man in what sometimes seems an unholy profession. Apparently the book was also made into a movie by the same name (starring Rock Hudson) that strayed slightly from the true storyline.

Recommended. While not always complimentary of Hess’s actions (both as a Christian and an Air Force officer), it is a worthwhile read. It is a particularly interesting read for young fighter pilots who are looking to an assignment at Osan or Kunsan in Korea.

This book appears to be out of print, but the most recent (1987) and older versions are available through re-sellers at Amazon.

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Book Review: Heroes at Home

Ellie Kay
Bethany House, Minnesota, 2002.
Topic: Military living

While written primarily from the perspective of (and by) a pilot’s wife, it contains good information even for fighter pilots. Chapter 3 contains good information from the perspective of a wife at home, regarding the uncertainty of moves and the potential for her husband to receive a remote assignment to Korea. Chapter 16 is devoted to military separations, and includes pre-TDY checklists, including a list of the “Top 12 Don’ts” regarding deployments (the list notably includes having a negative attitude, overdosing on TV, or spending time alone with other gender). Mrs. Kay has also written books on saving money, and some of her tips and ideas regarding money management are incorporated in the book as well.

Recommended for Christian fighter pilots (and their spouses) looking for insight into basic military family and relationship issues.

This book is available from Christian Book Distributors and Amazon.

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