OGTA Debrief #4 - Korean War hero Royce Williams

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On 2 December 2020, educators, teachers and leaders will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Korean War hero, Royce Williams.

The interview is part of the Old Guys and their Airplanes (OGTA) “Debrief” series and brought to the public, free of charge by the Distinguished Flying Cross Society (DFCS), South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB), South Dakota Air & Space Museum and San Diego Air & Space Museums.


For the link to the interview, click here. (the page is information-only until approximately 15 minutes before the show goes live on 2 December).


Williams’ mark on history was made on November 18 of 1952 when he faced seven Russian-flown MiG-15 fighter planes and single-handedly downed at least four, flying a distinctly inferior aircraft.  During the fight, Williams’ F9F Panther received a number of hits that dramatically reduced the aircraft’s ability to maintain controlled flight.  Nevertheless, Williams was able to evade enemy fire and return to the carrier.  Additionally, at 38 minutes, the dogfight was one-of, if not the, longest duration dogfights in American history. 

Because of sensitivities with Korean War negotiations and a risk of accelerating the conflict with direct American to Russian combat, the incident was obfuscated and rendered Classified.   It was only decades later that records became unsealed; had not been for the dedicated work of U.S. Navy leaders (lead by Rear Admiral Doniphan Shelton), Royce’s story may well have remained secret.  Indeed, Williams respected secrecy protocol — waiting over forty years to tell his wife, Cami.

Royce continued to fly combat into the Vietnam War, exhibiting the same commitment to excellence, humility and passion in order to fulfill his sworn duty.  Today, Royce recognizes the power of his story as a way to inspire others that they too can overcome overwhelming odds and prevail beyond the need for personal fame.

The OGTA Debrief is a rare opportunity for teachers, educators and leaders to learn more about what it takes to rise up and bear up under terrific odds.

Please tune into South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s link on December 2, 0900 Pacific, 1000 Mountain, 1100 Central and 1200 Eastern to watch, learn and participate in a live Q&A interview with this unforgottable hero of the Korean War.