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Old 20th May 2009, 15:47
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Korean Ace passes

Col. Harold E. Fischer Jr., Air Force ace in Korean War, dies

May. 13, 2009 12:00 AM
Wire services
Col. Harold E. Fischer Jr., 83, a fighter pilot who became one of the top Air Force aces of the Korean War before being shot down by the enemy and imprisoned for more than two years by the Chinese, died April 30 at a hospital in Las Vegas. He had complications from back surgery.
Fischer grew up on a farm in Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Army after two years at Iowa State University. He transferred to the Air Force in 1950 and achieved a remarkable combat record during 105 missions. He was credited with shooting down 10 Soviet-made MiG-15 fighters, enough to qualify him as a double ace.
In his last dogfight before his F-86 Sabrejet was hit by a Chinese fighter pilot, Fischer downed his 11th MiG.

Fischer parachuted into enemy territory just north of the Yalu River, which separates North Korea from China, on April 7, 1953.
Fischer, a captain at the time, was taken by Chinese soldiers to a prison outside Mukden, Manchuria, where he would spend the next 25 months. Three other American pilots from the Korean War were being held in the same prison. The four made headlines across the United States as a symbol of Cold War tensions, their imprisonment continuing months past the signing of the armistice and cease-fire that stopped the fighting July 27, 1953.
Nine months into his captivity, Fischer said, he used a nail to dig a hole through the wall of his cell and escaped. Intent on stealing a MiG, he was deterred by a guard and then tried to reach the railway station, where he was recaptured and placed in solitary confinement.
He and the other pilots were released May 31, 1955, after being tried by the Chinese in a mock trial in which they were found guilty of participating in germ warfare and immediately deported to the United States.
After his release from prison in 1955, Fischer returned to Iowa State University to pursue a master's degree in industrial administration. During the Vietnam War, he flew 200 missions, primarily in helicopters. His final active-duty assignment, in 1978, was with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
His decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
It was only in later life that Fischer found out that Chinese ace Han Decai was credited with shooting him down in 1953. "When I found out that Han had been given credit for me, I tried to contact him through Chinese embassies," Fischer said. "In 1996, I joined a group of (World War II-era) Flying Tiger pilots who had been invited to visit China. There, I met General Han and presented him with an F-86 model. We've met again since then. And we have become friends."
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