An 88-year-old American Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient has been granted rare permission to enter North Korea to fulfill a final promise and search for the remains of his friend and wingman — the U.S. Navy’s first African American pilot.
Thomas Hudner, an octogenarian U.S. Navy captain from Massachusetts, entered the capital city of Pyongyang as North Koreans gathered to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.
Escorted, sometimes hand-in-hand, by a young North Korean, Hudner’s goal was to locate his friend and wingman, Ensign Jesse Brown, whose body was never recovered.
Hudner crashed his own plane to try to save Brown, who was shot down over North Korea behind Chinese lines in December 1950, and was unable to escape his damaged aircraft. Hudner vigorously attempted to free Brown, but was unable to, and ultimately had to leave his unconscious comrade behind when a rescue helicopter arrived.
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