Hudner, Thomas J.

U.S. Navy 1946–1953

Graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1946, Hudner was assigned to a cruiser north of Shanghai as a ship’s signal officer. Receiving his wings in 1949 he trained to be a pilot and was assigned to the carrier, USS Leyte. Hudner talks of the unrest leading up to the Korean War. In December 1950 he and his Fighter Squadron 32 were on a mission to attack “targets of opportunity” when a member of the Squadron was hit and crash landed. Jesse Brown, the first black aviator in naval history was at first thought dead but Hudner crash landed his own plane to save his friend. For this he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Hudner speaks eloquently about his comrades and how his military career affected his life.

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