The Pilot Who Crashed His Aircraft Into The Guns That Shot Him Down

The Pilot Who Crashed His Aircraft Into The Guns That Shot Him Down
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Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr. was a skilled fighter, bomber pilot, and World War II, veteran. He took off on a mission over Korea on the 22nd of November in 1952. When the North Koreans scored hits on his aircraft, instead of aborting the mission he decided to turn his plane into a suicide aircraft.

Maj. Loring was commissioned in 1942 and flew over 55 combat missions earning the Distinguished Flying Cross before he was shot down on Christmas Eve in 1944. This incident happened in Belgium and made him a prisoner of the war. However, this brave pilot survived these tough experiences and later was promoted to captain. After his recovery, he was serving as an instructor for a few years during Korean War and was sent forward in 1952. Because of his skills, he could fly 50 more combat missions in four months after his return.

F-80s in Korea
Credits: USAF

On the 22nd of November in 1952, Loring was called to lead a bombing mission against enemy ground forces. At that time Loring was newly promoted to Major and he was flying an F-80 with three other jets. Loring’s F-80 started the bombing dive against the Chinese enemy positions. But from there it all went bad for the Maj. Loring. Chinese troops with guns were accurate and they scored some hits against the Loring’s aircraft. According to the reports released after the incident, Loring had a lot of time to abort the mission, but he didn’t.

“Disregarding the accuracy and intensity of the ground fire, Major Loring aggressively continued to press the attack until his aircraft was hit. At approximately 4,000 feet, he deliberately altered his course and aimed his diving aircraft at active gun emplacements concentrated on a ridge northwest of the briefed target, turned his aircraft 45 degrees to the left, pulled up in a deliberate, controlled maneuver, and elected to sacrifice his life by diving his aircraft directly into the midst of the enemy emplacements”

Loring purposely hit his crashing aircraft on the ground enemy troops destroying them in metal and burning fuel of his F-80 fighter aircraft while sacrificing his own life too. The United States Air Force nominated him for the Medal of Honor which later Loring received posthumously. He was one of only four airmen to receive the honor.

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