Some of you may recall a little yarn I posted back in March called Cold War Incident
- a little known story culled from declassified NATO files. Here's another one for you.
In February 1952, Junior Lt. Kim Luck of the North Korean People's Air Force was despatched on a late afternoon training mission with his instructor.
Lt. Luck was an inattentive student and his instructors agreed he was the worst flier in his class. As the pair climbed for altitude, they passed into a thick layer of cloud. Emerging into the sunlight above the cloud deck, Lt. Luck realized he had lost contact with his instructor.
The Mig pilot stooged about the sky, searching in vain for his instructor with growing anxiety, knowing full well he was going to get his ass chewed out but good when he got back. Finally he spotted an aircraft below and with a sigh of relief dived down to join up. As he closed the distance, Lt. Kuck realized with a start he had an enemy aircraft in his sights!
The F84 Thunderjet was heading home after a ground attack mission and spotted the Mig boring in. The American pilot rolled away from the attack and prudently dove for the clouds.
Lt. Luck plunged into the cloud cover after the Thunderjet, but when he cleared the clouds, the F84 was long gone. Before Luck had time to curse his luck, tracers came flashing past his cockpit. He'd been jumped by a Sabre flying MigCap on the ground attack strike.
Panicking, Lt. Luck dodged and jinked all over the sky in a desperate attempt to get away from the Sabre.
The Sabre pilot stayed on his tail through Luck's wild maneuvering, snapping off bursts at the madly gyrating Mig.
Sweat pouring from his body, Lt. Luck pulled his fighter through every move he could think of. In his panic, he jabbed at the instrument panel to pop the speed brakes, in an attempt to get the Sabre to overshoot. He blew the canopy off instead, which sailed back behind him and tore the right horizontal stabilizer clear off the pursuing Sabre.
The Sabre broke off and limped for home while Lt. Luck dove for the ground. He spotted a valley and went for it. In the distance, he could see a bridge. As he approached, the wind screaming through the open cockpit, a barrage of flak blossomed in front of him. He sailed though the flak right into the teeth of a flight of US Navy Panthers!
The Panthers scattered in all directions, cursing the crazy Mig pilot. The astonished Communist flak gunners stopped firing and stared as Lt. Luck sailed down the line of attacking American jets.
Lt. Luck had had enough. Weeping with fright and frustrated rage, he jammed on his afterburner and fled the valley into the now setting sun. Recovering his wits, he plotted a course for home and climbed for altitude. Quietly watching this entire course of events was a Navy air-intercept radar operator off the Korean coast. He scrambled an F94 Starfire all-weather night fighter crew to intercept the Mig.
The F94 quickly vectored onto Lt. Luck's Mig in the near darkness. Slowly and carefully closing the gap, guided by his onboard radar officer, the F94 pilot lined up his shot, thinking he had an easy kill.
He pressed the gun button and - nothing. He tried again, and again, no dice - his guns were jammed! Cursing loudly, he turned for home while Lt. Luck cruised back to his base blissfully unaware he close he had come - once again - to a flaming death.
The radar operator exclaimed "That's one lucky Mig!"
The trouble wasn't over for Lt. Luck, however. After landing he was arrested for losing his instructor in flight and bringing back a damaged aircraft. Jailed and beaten, Lt. Luck was released only after the flak gunners related the story of his daring and heroic attack in the face of heavy odds at the bridge. Angry and disillusioned, Lt. Kim Luck defected with his Mig to the Allied forces on his very next flight.
After the war, Luck opened a furniture store in Seoul. He lives there today, a successful businessman. He never flew again. "Too dangerous!" he says.
Okay - another bogus story, but it serves to honour all those who served in Korea and in all wars to preserve our freedom!
Stay tuned for more and Happy New Year to you all!
Best! Ted!Cold War Incident