News / Asia

US Pilot Tours North Korea

In this Friday, July 12, 2013 photo, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman, poses on the porch at his home in Concord, Mass. In this Friday, July 12, 2013 photo, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman, poses on the porch at his home in Concord, Mass.
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In this Friday, July 12, 2013 photo, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman, poses on the porch at his home in Concord, Mass.
In this Friday, July 12, 2013 photo, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman, poses on the porch at his home in Concord, Mass.
— A highly decorated American pilot from the Korean War who has returned to North Korea so far has been unable to reach the site where his wingman crash landed in 1950 and died.

Flooding may dash the hopes of Thomas Hudner and accompanying Americans of getting to the Chosin Reservoir this week.  

They have come to North Korea to try to find and retrieve the body of U.S. Navy pilot Jesse Brown.  

Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for trying to rescue Brown, in the meantime has become the first American through the doors of the recently opened Korean People’s Army Museum of Weapons and Equipment.

Related - US Aviator Returns to N. Korea in Search of Fellow Pilot's Remains

The 88 year old Hudner, along with 83 year old Dick Bonelli, a Marine who fought on the ground at the 1950 Chosin Reservoir battle against Chinese troops, were welcomed at the museum by North Korean military officers.  

Senior Colonel Jeon HakCheol expressed full confidence in the quality of North Korea’s military equipment to bring about a victory in a war.  Tanks on display were painted with the phrase ‘Let’s annihilate the U.S. imperial aggressors, the blood enemy of the Korean people.’

Also on display are scale models of American tanks, ships and aircraft.

VOA News asked the colonel for his assessment of the Abrams tanks of the U.S. army deployed in South Korea.  He said their weaponry is excellent and their mobility wonderful, but the rough Korean terrain makes it impossible to use the Abrams for warfare here.

The museum’s gift shop offers for sale small plastic models of several U.S. aircraft.  The B-2 bomber sells for $90, and American currency is accepted.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

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