Korean War vet looking for wreck of wingman's plane

July 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM
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CONCORD, Mass., July 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. veteran of the Korean War traveled to North Korea Friday to see the wreck of the plane where his wingman, the U.S. Navy's first black pilot, died.

Thomas Hudner, 88, of Concord, Mass., was scheduled to arrive Friday in Pyongyang, The Boston Globe reported.

Jesse L. Brown, flying an F-4U Corsair, is believed to have crashed in mountainous terrain. Hudner received the Medal of Honor in 1951 for crash-landing his own plane and trying to save Brown, something he was unable to do.

Hudner and Brown were providing air cover during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

The secretive North Korean government says the remains of the plane have been located.

Hudner has been joined on the trip by an expert, Justin Taylan, founder of the non-profit PacificWrecks.org. He is also accompanied by his biographer, Adam Makos, and a friend, Richard Bonelli, who was a machine gunner at Chosin Reservoir.

Daisy Brown Thorne, 86, of Hattiesburg, Miss., told the Globe she hopes some remains of her husband will be found, so he can be honored with a military funeral.

"At first I don't know what my reaction was," she said. "Then I was really happy that he wanted to go and happy that he is going to get a chance to go back. Whatever the success is, it will bring some closure."

Hudner was a career Navy officer who served in Vietnam and then went on to become commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Affairs.

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