The Norman Transcript

Headlines

July 20, 2013

Vet returns to N. Korea for body

(Continued)

SEOUL, South Korea —

This time, ground fire struck Brown’s plane, forcing him to land behind enemy lines. When Brown waved for help from his crumpled, smoking cockpit after slamming into the mountainside, Hudner acted quickly.

“I thought: ‘My God, I’ve got to make a decision,”’ he said. “I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing his plane burst into flames.”

Hudner crash-landed his plane in high winds and snowy rocks about 100 yards from the downed fighter. As flames engulfed Brown’s plane, and still under the threat of attack, Hudner scrambled to pack the fuselage with snow, burning his hands in the process. He took his cap off and pulled it over Browns’ ears, then radioed for help as Brown remained trapped in the cockpit, bleeding heavily, his leg crushed and his body temperature dropping in the subzero conditions.

A Marine helicopter arrived, but the pilot and Hudner could not extract Brown from the wreckage.

Before losing consciousness, his thoughts turned to his wife, whose name he whispered in his last command to Hudner: “If I don’t make it, please tell Daisy I love her.”

Hudner reluctantly got into the rescue helicopter. Brown is believed to have died soon after. The next day, U.S. military planes dropped napalm on the wreckage to keep the enemy from getting his body.

Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest award, for trying to save Brown. Brown posthumously received the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“He was a leader,” Hudner said. “He had great promise had he not been so tragically killed.”

Hudner went onto a distinguished naval career and later served as Massachusetts’ commissioner of veterans’ services, eventually settling in the revolutionary town of Concord, Massachusetts.

A few years ago, he was contacted by author Adam Makos about doing a book on his wartime heroics. It was Makos, Hudner said, who suggested returning to the crash site. Hudner hadn’t thought it possible, given the abysmal state of U.S.-North Korean relations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • One killed when shipping container falls onto vehicle

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say one person was killed when a shipping container was knocked from an Oklahoma National Guard vehicle and landed on a pickup truck....

    August 1, 2014

  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014