Pilot used his MIG jet fighter to defect from North Korea to US airbase

Pilot used his MIG jet fighter to defect from North Korea to US airbase

He parked amid a cluster of American warplanes, tore a framed {photograph} of Kim Il-sung from his instrument panel, jumped out of his cockpit and threw the image to the bottom.

After which, as he remembered it, “all hell broke free across the air base”. Dozens of airmen scrambled to succeed in him, and the commander of the Fifth Air Drive, Lieutenant Normal Samuel E. Anderson, rushed to the bottom.

“No one appeared to know what to do,” Rowe recalled. “I shouted ‘Motorcar, motorcar, motorcar’, which was about the one English I remembered from highschool, hoping that somebody would carry an car to drive me to headquarters.”

This is the MIG15 communist jet fighter which was brought down on Kimpo airport near Seoul by Lieutenant No Kum-Sok and turned over to UN forces.

That is the MIG15 communist jet fighter which was introduced down on Kimpo airport close to Seoul by Lieutenant No Kum-Sok and turned over to UN forces. Credit score:AP

Two pilots put him right into a jeep, advised him to show over his semiautomatic pistol, which he gladly did, and introduced him to a constructing for interrogation. The incident grew to become a serious information story.

“Pink Lands MIG Close to Seoul and Surrenders to the Allies,” The New York Instances reported in a Web page 1 headline.


Searching for to find out the MIG’s strengths and weaknesses in anticipation of future conflicts with the Soviet Union and its allies, the Air Drive dispatched a few of its most achieved take a look at pilots – together with Main Chuck Yeager, who had gained fame in 1947 as the primary flier to interrupt the sound barrier – to place the MIG-15 by way of strenuous manoeuvres. Their verdict: The F-86 was the superior warplane.

Kenneth Hill Rowe, as he got here to be recognized, was born on January 10, 1932, in a city of 10,000 within the northern a part of the Japanese-occupied Korean Peninsula. His father, No Zae, was an administrator for a Japanese industrial conglomerate in Korea. His mom, Veronica Ko, was a homemaker.

He grew to become a naval cadet in 1949 as an avenue to finishing a free school schooling – and maybe someday getting an opportunity to defect at a overseas port. He was later transferred to the Air Drive and obtained jet-fighter coaching from Soviet airmen in Manchuria. He acquired his wings at 19.

Eight weeks after the Korean armistice, he peeled off from his patrol, reached an altitude of 23,000 toes and turned south for a 13-minute flight throughout the Demilitarised Zone to Kimpo.

Luck was with him. The American air defence radar simply north of the airport had been shut down for routine upkeep, and neither American planes aloft nor antiaircraft crews had noticed him.

In the course of the late phases of the Korean Conflict, the Air Drive had dropped leaflets over North Korea providing a $100,000 reward to the primary North Korean pilot to defect with a MIG. Rowe maintained that he knew nothing of that reward and stated he had merely needed to dwell a free life. However he accepted it.

The US targeted an industrial military target in North Korea just days after the defection.

The US focused an industrial army goal in North Korea simply days after the defection.Credit score:Supply unknown

He got here to the USA in Might 1954 and was one thing of a star. He was launched to Vice President Richard Nixon, was interviewed by Dave Garroway on NBC’s Right now program and appeared on broadcasts for the Voice of America. He obtained an engineering diploma from the College of Delaware, grew to become an American citizen in 1962 and labored as an engineer for main defence and aerospace corporations. He was later a professor of engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College in Daytona Seaside.


When Rowe arrived in the USA, his MIG-15bis was introduced over as nicely, for extra flight testing by the Air Drive.

Seven many years later, that aircraft nonetheless exists, and resides on the Nationwide Museum of the US Air Drive close to Dayton, Ohio.

Its pink star repainted, it’s on show alongside an American F-86 Sabre jet, a remembrance of the dogfights of the Korean Conflict within the swath of sky often called MIG Alley.

Along with his daughter, Rowe is survived by his spouse, Clara (Kim) Rowe; his son, Raymond; and a grandson.

The New York Instances

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