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The jet age, and the new United States Air Force, came to Korea when American and South Korean forces were still reeling from the surprise invasion from the North.  Within a month our Nation's newest branch of service proved its superiority, wiping out the 150-plane air force of North Korea.   For six months American pilots ruled the skies and gave ground troops necessary support to turn the tide of the ground war.  Then, China entered the war.

In the three years that followed more than 1,000 US Air Force airplanes went down.  The newest branch of service suffered more than 1,700 casualties.  Along the way, however, the brave knights of the skies destroyed more than 1,000 enemy tanks, 18,000 bunkers and gun emplacements, and put more than 100,000 enemy vehicles out of service.

Air Force fighter pilots not only found themselves pitted against the jet-powered Soviet MiGs, but restrictive rules of engagement that prevented them from following their prey across the Yalu River.  The traditional ingenuity of the American airman faced new tests in MiG Alley and elsewhere over North and South Korea, and the men of the US Air Force rose to the challenge.  They won ten out of every eleven engagements of the war.

Victory in the air came at a great price during every war.  During World War I, 3 of the 4 men awarded Medals of Honor died in their moment of valor.  During World War II of the 38 airmen awarded Medals of Honor, only 15 survived.  Four airmen of the new United States Air Force received their Nation's highest military award in Korea.  NONE SURVIVED!

Courtesy of

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