Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. Medal of Honor Citation

Navy MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE

THOMAS JEROME HUDNER JR.

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. (J.G.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. (J.G.) Hudner’s exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Born: 31 Aug. 1934 in Fall River, Mass…. Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1947… The pilot Hudner attempted to rescue was Ens. Jesse L. Brown, the Navy’s first black aviator… Retired as a captain in 1973

One Response

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  1. Written by Paul T. McDonough
    on April 18, 2011 at 12:05
    Permalink

    I heard about this pilot trying to save Jessie Brown. I
    heard it on the scuttlebut circuit on the Uss Valley Forge
    CV45. I never knew the details.

    For sixty years I have wondered about this story and today
    I found out the full story. It is nice to also find out Mr. Hudner is alive and well.

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