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Thomas Jerome Hudner , Jr.

Date of birth: August 31, 1924
Date of death: Still Living
Place of Birth: Massachusetts, Fall River
Home of record: Fall River Massachusetts

Thomas Hudner graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1947. Jesse LeRoy Brown, the fellow pilot Tom Hudner crash landed next to in order to try and rescue was the Navy's FIRST Black Aviator, and the first Black American to have a Naval Ship named for him. He retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy.


Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr., United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Pilot in Fighter Squadron Thirty-Two (VF-32), attached to the U.S.S. LEYTE (CV-32), while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by anti-aircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, on 4 December 1950. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, 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. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Hudner's exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Action Date: December 4, 1950

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade

Battalion: Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32)

Regiment: Air Group 3 (AG-3)

Division: U.S.S. Leyte (CV-32)