Anyhoo....On with the show.
A few weeks ago, someone commented on one of Sarge's posts about the 18TFW's crest and the "history" behind it. As with most Urban Legends, there's a lot of twists and turns to the story, but here's the bare bones about it.
According to the story, in the early days of the Korean War, some flying unit, somewhere in Korea, (although Kunsan and Osan are frequently mentioned), was forced to abandon their base because of the rapid advances of the North Koreans. As such, in their haste to save their sorry pink butts, the pilots, who flew fighters, (there is a difference), took off and left their maintenance crews to fend for themselves against the godless commies. Said crews were said to have been captured and then hung from the rafters of the bases hangar. Headquarters was said to be so incensed by the actions of the pilots that they decreed that the unit would not be allowed to return to the United States until they had recovered their honor in combat. Further their unit patch would be colored yellow and would have a chicken on it with its arms in the air as if surrendering.
Furthermore, the wires, the poor crew chiefs lost their lives on, would remain intact in the rafters "as a reminder...." Dun, dun, DUNNNN!!!
When I got to Kunsan, in the final year of the second worst president in history, the base had a very large hangar near the runway. Early on in my tour, we had a change of command for the Wing Commander and, because it was winter, prudence dictated we use the hangar for the ceremony.
|If I recall correctly, the hangar was approximately where the oval is|
Being the second youngest officer in the Squadron (my date of rank was 1 day older than my classmate from RTU and now squadron mate which kept me from being the snacko, wahoo!), I was the gofer for the ceremony. That didn't require a lot of effort or brainpower so I had some time on my hands. I wandered around the hangar looking at equipment and stuff. I happened to glance up and saw some wires hanging from the ceiling... Dun, dun, DUNNNN!!!
I asked an old, crusty MSGT (is there any other kind?) what they were for. He related his version of the story. I was impressed, because he told it impressively. However, I had my doubts that the pilots would have run off like that because, well, I was young and impressionable.
So, at least to this version of the story, the base in question was Kunsan.
Now, what Paul Harvey would call, "the rest of the story.",
There are only two fighter units, in the north Pacific, that fit the mold of "never return to the US", the 8TFW and the 18TFW. (Strangely enough, both Sarge and I are alumni of both, even with some overlap in the 8th. As small a base as that was, I'm sure we ran into each other, although neither can remember it happening. Heck, I'm having a harder and harder time remembering breakfast, much less events from nearly 40 years ago.)
Now, where was I...
Right. 8TFW and 18TFW, still in the Pacific, never to return, cowardly heiniousity of leaving crew chiefs to the godless commies, stuck with a yellow patch with a surrendering chicken until they recover their honor in battle.
Let's set a timeline. The godless commies invaded on June 25th, 1950. The Inchon landing occurred on Sep 15th 1950, on the 25th Seoul was recaptured and the North Korean army essentially disintegrated. So, the yellow chicken debacle had to occur sometime in the summer of 1950.
According to the source of all verifiable knowledge, the 8th was flying out of Itazuke AB Japan during that period, (moving to Pyongyang Air Base in December 1950 interestingly). In fact, they didn't permanently move to Kunsan until 1974.
Strike one, they were not at the Kun at the time.
Strike two, the patch is wrong.
And, here comes strike three....
|If you have to ask who this is, well....|
So, it's unlikely it was the 8th that perpetrated this heiniousity.
(I always thought it looked a bit ridiculous, but...Tradition!)
That means it must have been those dastardly Eagle drivers from the 18TFW then right? They got that surrendering chicken patch, must be them! Can't trust those air-to-air pukes. Leaving their crew chiefs behind. Why I oughtta.....
Whoa, Tex, rein in those hosses!
OK, so the surrendering chicken patch does belong to the 18TFW.
|With wings and talons.|
They got this patch assigned to them in Korea right! Cowards!
Actually Tex, No.
|Yep, the surrendering chicken|
So where were they in the Korean War? Again, according to the source of all knowledge, they were at Clark when the North Korean's attacked and were hurriedly deployed to Taegu AB, just north of Pusan. So, they were not at Kunsan, either.
Finally, I've already written about Major Sebille, one of only 4 Medal of Honor recipients in the USAF during the Korean War. (Another one, Major Charles Loring was in the 80TFS, the Juvats. On the shoulders of Giants.) It is unlikely that someone brave enough to crash his aircraft into the enemy to stop their attack would come from a unit that would abandon its comrades.
Oh, and by the way, the never to return? Both the 18th and the 8th have sent units to CONUS to compete in William Tell (an air to air competition) and Gunsmoke (an air to ground competition). If there were any truth to the Urban Legend, honor would have prevented they're even being extended an invitation much less attending and winning.
You've got to love Urban Legends, they're just another variant of Reagan's quote, "
Oh, and the "surrendering Chicken"? It's actually a gamecock, a tenacious fighter known to continue to attack its foe until one or the other is dead. An admirable trait in a fighter pilot.
“It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.”
Hope you're feeling better, Sarge!