In the heat of battle, some soldiers make incredible sacrifices. That was the case of Air Force Maj. CHarles J. Loring Jr.
Buy the time Air Force Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr. served in Korea, he had already been a prisoner of war, served in Word War II, and was a fighter and bomber pilot.
In 1942, Loring flew 55 combat missions over Europe and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. However, in 1994 on Christmas Eve, his plane was shot down while flying over Belgium.
He became a prisoner of war. He survived and became a captain. When the Korean War began he was an instructor for the first couple of years.
He left for a mission in Korea on Nov. 22, 1952, flying 50 combat missions in four months. Eventually China and North Korea combined their anti-aircraft artillery into two locations.
Loring’s new mission was to head up a bombing mission against the Chinese and North Korean artillery. The two countries had 133 large guns, 24 rocket launchers and 47 anti-aircraft weapons.
Leading the Misson
Loring had recently become a major and was flying a F-80 with three other jets on November 22. He began a dive-bomb run.
The run did not go to plan. The Chinese were very accurate and hit Loring multiple times. While Loring could have aborted the mission, he choose not to.
According to his medal citation, Loring “aggressively pressed the attack until he was hit.” When he was at 4,000 feet, he changed his tactics. Loring “aimed his diving aircraft at active gun emplacements.”
He then “turned his aricraft 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 chose to sacrifice his own life to give the rest of the pilots a fighting chance. He posthumously was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Only three other airmen recieved the honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the medal to Loring’s wife.
Upon handing her the medal, he made the annoucement that they would name an Air Force base in Maine after Loring.