Former Navy pilot Royce Williams shot down 4 Soviet jets — and saved the feat secret for 50 years


This real-life Korean War “Top Gun” saved his battle story secret for 50 years. 

In 1952, then-U.S. Navy pilot Royce Williams engaged in presumably the longest solo aerial dogfight in opposition to 4 Soviet jets, capturing down the enemy planes in decrease than half-hour, KUSI reported. 

Williams, 97, who retired in 1975, on Friday acquired the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest award for military honor. 

The award bought right here after a very long time of Williams abiding by a promise to take care of his mouth shut—even amongst household and mates—about this short-term however inserting second of aerial struggle, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in 2022. 

Tom Cruise, who carried out the fictional Maverick inside the “Top Gun” assortment, congratulated the American hero for his award. 

“Your grit and bravery are simply astounding,” he (*4*) in a video recording. “You are a true American hero and I offer you my most sincere thanks and congratulations to you, sir.” 

On Nov. 18, 1952, Williams was conducting struggle air patrol in a F9F Panther with three totally different US fighter pilots alongside the Yalu River, over the northernmost part of Korean Peninsula that separates North Korea from China, and near what was then the Soviet Union. 

Royce Williams with another unidentified person
Williams was launched with the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest award for military honors.
CAPT Royce Williams

The chief of their patrol suffered mechanical points and left alongside together with his wingman once more to a U.S. aircraft supplier inside the Sea of Japan. Then Williams and his wingman seen seven Soviet MiG-15s heading in direction of the Americans. 

“They just didn’t come out of Russia and engage us in any way before,” Williams instructed the American Veterans Center. 

After the pair had been ordered to get between the Soviet forces and the U.S. aircraft carriers, 4 of the MiGs began capturing on the pair, most important Williams to return fireside. 

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Williams poses in front of his F9F Panther.
Williams proudly poses in entrance of a F9F Panther alongside together with his establish printed on the side.

Royce Williams with a plane.
The former-US Navy pilot retired in 1975.


Despite being instructed to face down, for the following half-hour, Williams outmaneuvered the Soviet fighter jets. He unloaded all 760 rounds of the 20mm shells his airplane carried, and took 263 holes to his private jet, nevertheless managed to return to the aircraft supplier unharmed. 

Williams solely began sharing the story in 2002, after Korean War information had been declassified, The Independent reported. The Soviet Union was not an official combatant inside the Korean War.

Rep. Darrell Issa, who campaigned to have Williams’ achievements formally acknowledged, known as him “an American hero and a Top Gun pilot like no other,” CBS-8 beforehand reported.

He added that there have been few others who may look at to the “the heroism and valor he demonstrated for 30 harrowing minutes, 70 years ago, in the skies over the North Pacific and coast of North Korea.”

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