ⓘ Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.. Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. was a retired officer of the United States Navy. He is also a former naval aviator. He rose to the rank of capt ..

Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

ⓘ Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. was a retired officer of the United States Navy. He is also a former naval aviator. He rose to the rank of captain. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions trying to save the life of his wingman, Ensign Jesse L. Brown. It was during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War.


1. Biography

He was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. He was a student at Phillips Academy and the United States Naval Academy. At first he was not interested in aviation, but later he learned to fly and joined Fighter Squadron 32. He flew a F4U Corsair at the start of the Korean War. Arriving near Korea in October 1950, he flew support missions from the USS Leyte.

On 4 December 1950 Hudner and Brown were among a group of pilots on patrol near the Chosin Reservoir. Browns Corsair was shot by Chinese troops and crashed. In an attempt to save Brown from his burning aircraft, Hudner intentionally crash-landed his own aircraft on a snowy mountain in freezing temperatures to help Brown. In spite of these efforts, Brown died of his injuries and Hudner was forced to leave, having also been injured in the landing.

Later, Hudner served aboard several U.S. Navy ships and with a number of aviation units, including a short time as Executive Officer of the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, before retiring in 1973. After retiring, he worked for veterans organizations in the United States. He lived in Concord, Massachusetts. The Arleigh Burke -class guided missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner is named for him.

Hudner died at his home in Concord, Massachusetts on November 13, 2017 at the age of 93.


2. Medal of Honor citation

Hudner was one of 11 men awarded the Medal of Honor during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He was the first of seven U.S. Navy servicemen, and the only Naval aviator, to be awarded the Medal of Honor in the Korean War.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. J.G. Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. J.G. Hudners exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

  • 1942 2017 - Bobby Doerr, American baseball player b. 1918 2017 - Thomas J Hudner Jr American naval aviator b. 1924 2017 - Alina Janowska, Polish
  • Americans. Roberts Rinehart Publishers. p. 77. ISBN 978 - 1 - 57098 - 212 - 5. Fox, Thomas 2011 Hidden History of the Irish of New Jersey. The History Press. pp
  • Doerr, 99, American Hall of Fame baseball player Boston Red Sox Thomas J Hudner Jr 93, American naval aviator, Medal of Honor recipient 1950 Alina