Thomas Hudner, a former U.S. Navy pilot who received the Medal of Honor for his heroics in the Korean War, was buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
On Dec. 4, 1950, Hudner and his squadron were providing air support to American troops during the battle of the Chosin River in the Korean War. Ensign Jesse L. Brown, one of Hudner’s squadron mates and the first African-American to be trained as a naval aviator, was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire.
Seeing that Brown was still alive in the wreckage, Hudner crash-landed his own aircraft to try to rescue Brown, according to the U.S. Navy. Brown’s leg was crushed under a damaged instrument panel. Hudner and later a U.S. helicopter pilot with an ax were unable to free Brown. The two had to leave Brown, who was already near death, because the helicopter pilot would be unable to fly in the dark. Brown died a short time later, according to the service.
On April 13, 1951, Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Chosin Reservoir. He served 27 years in the U.S. Navy.
During his full honors funeral Wednesday in Section 54 at Arlington National Cemetery, Strike Fighter Squadron 32 (VFA-32) did a flyover in the missing man formation. The F-18s are from Hudner’s former squadron.
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