The Dogfight That Never Was
On November 18th, 1952, the Korean War had been going on for two and half years. On the ground, the war was stalemated along a line that would ultimately become the Demilitarized Zone that, to this day, separates North and South Korea.
In the Sea of Japan, the carriers and escorts comprising Task Force Task Force 77 were operating off the North Korean port of Chongjin. Since arriving on station, Air Group 102 on board U.S.S. Oriskany (CV-34), had been flying air strikes against truck convoys and trains bringing supplies from to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Army of North Korea from the Soviet Union.
Flight operations were canceled in the morning because the task force was blanketed by a blizzard that covered the decks with snow. That was, until the air group received an order to launch four F9Fs to intercept a flight of airplanes coming south from Soviet airbases around the port of Vladivostok. Royce Williams was the flight leader.
What happened over the next hour was classified Top Secret and then Lieutenant Royce Williams and his wingman, Lieutenant John Middleton, were told never to discuss what happened. They kept the secret for over 50 years and only recently have details of the dogfight in which Williams battled seven MiG-15s flown by Soviet Naval Aviation pilots come to light.
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