Force pilot James Thompson, left, visits with his crew chief prior
to a combat mission during the Korean War. The crew chief, known only
by the last name of Johnson, is from Okarche. In the lower right of
the photo, the words “Home” and “Okarche, Okla”
can be seen. (Photo provided) © 2017 Okarche Warrior
Article Link - October 9, 2017
By Mindy Ragan
Wood, Staff Writer – More than 60 years after the Korean War
ended, a U.S. Air Force pilot is searching for his crew chief who
is from Okarche.
served with fellow crew member whose last name is Johnson in the 336th
Squadron at K-14 in South Korea in 1953. He wrote a letter to the
Okarche Warrior and sent a photo of himself with Johnson. The fuel
tank on the F-86 shows a Tee Pee, captioned “home” with
the location Okarche, OKLA.
he was a sergeant. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his first
name, but I’ll never forget how well he, as crew chief, took
care of the F-86 I flew in combat,” Thompson wrote.
Thompson said Johnson was responsible for maintaining the plane and
he was the pilot.
did a marvelous job,” Thompson said during a phone call to the
Warrior. “He made sure it was airworthy and ready to go. He
was my righthand man.”
The two were stationed in Seoul, South Korea where they flew patrol
along a 200-mile route north to the Manchurian border. Thompson flew
were a fighter intercept group,” he said. “Our task was
to maintain air superiority over North and South Korea.”
the fuel tanks would be dropped along with a bomb. North Koreans used
to salvage them and “beat usable parts into pots and pans,”
he wrote in the letter.
U.S. airmen painted messages on the fuel tanks that would be dropped
to indicate where the metal had come from.
Now 89, Thompson
said he cannot be sure Johnson is alive.
give anything in the world if he were still living and I could make
contact with him, and tell him thank you for what you did,”
he said. “Someone from there made a marvelous contribution.
I wish I had contacted him 20 or 30 years ago.”
in Florence, Alabama where he is a pastor at First Presbyterian Church.
Anyone with information can contact James Thompson as 256-757-1165.
His mailing address is 1428 North Shore Drive, Florence, Alabama,