With The Fleet Off Wonson Korea 1951
by Jack Masters
On a flight in late 1951 during the Korean War, we arrived at our station with the United States Navy fleet off Wonson, Korea at night. We were given a briefing over the voice radio in plain language that went something like this:
"TRANSPLANT (callsign), fly your normal pattern in the sector and at 2200 hours break off and fly to (location on the Korean coast), turn and fly down the coastline. Observe and report weather."
(later, we were informed) "There are a lot of aircraft out here tonight. All aircraft, be advised there are aircraft out here who are not responding to our IFF interrogation. Be advised, there are bogies out here."
Somewhat later we heard, "TRANSPLANT, there are two bogies heading your way. These aircraft are hostile and are headed right for you. We are sending you help."
Two U S Navy fighter aircraft defenders came to our aid and talked with with us, with their controller and with each other. Our escort aircraft transmitted: "TRANSPLANT, I see you. I see TRANSPLANT but not the attackers. Now I see one... I see one... I'm on him! I'm on him! "
Then we heard "Oh, God. I'm hit! I'm hit. I'm going down! I'm going down! MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. I'm going to ditch in the water. Mayday, Mayday." then GLUG, GLUG, Glug.
We never learned the fate of that Navy fighter pilot or his name. We owe him.