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Wounded Times

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Korean War Vet returns to North Korea to keep promise

UPDATE

Vet Fails to Make it to North Korea Crash Site
Vet returns to North Korea for 1st black Navy aviator
By JEAN H. LEE
The Associated Press
Published: July 19, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea - Two years after he made history by becoming the Navy's first black pilot, Ensign Jesse Brown lay trapped in his downed fighter plane in subfreezing North Korea, his leg broken and bleeding. His wingman crash-landed to try to save him, and even burned his hands trying to put out the flames.

A chopper hovered nearby. Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner could save himself, but not his friend. With the light fading, the threat of enemy fire all around him and Brown losing consciousness, the white son of a New England grocery-store magnate made a promise to the black son of a sharecropper.

"We'll come back for you."

More than 60 years have passed. Hudner is now 88. But he did not forget. He is coming back.

Hudner, now a retired Navy captain, heads to Pyongyang on Saturday with hopes of traveling in the coming week to the region known in North Korea as the Jangjin Reservoir, accompanied by soldiers from the Korean People's Army, to the spot where Brown died in December 1950.
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