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Thomas Hudner receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman [1951]

Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Branch of Service: Navy
  • Service Unit/Ship: USS Helena (CA 75); VF-32 (Fighter Squadron), USS Leyte (CV 32); Naval Air Advanced Training Command (NAATC); Executive Officer, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63); Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff; 60th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron; Air War College; VF-53 (Fighter Squadron), USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14); VT-24 (Training Squadron); Commander in Chief Pacific Command (CINCPAC)
  • Location of Service: Vietnam; Korea
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant; Captain
  • Collection Number: AFC/2001/001/2938

View full service history

"I assured him that we would get him out of there, although I was very pessimistic about it, but had to give him some words of consolation." (Audio interview, 19:26)

A 1946 graduate of the Naval Academy, Lieutenant Thomas Jerome Hudner arrived off the coast of Korea in early October 1950, a few months after the beginning of the Korean War. A pilot serving with the VF-32 fighter squadron, one of his most notable experiences began on December 4th, 1950. During an armed reconnaissance mission near the Chosin Reservoir, in which they were dispatched to provide support to the Marines fighting there, his wingman's plane was hit and went down. In an attempt to save the pilot-who was Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy's first African American aviator-Hudner purposely crash-landed his own plane nearby, waded through a foot of snow over to Brown's wrecked aircraft, and attempted to extricate him from the cockpit. Though Brown ultimately died from his wounds, Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Interview / Recording

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Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection
Interview / Recording

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About this Item

Title

  • Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection

Names

  • Concord Oral History Program
  • Hudner Jr., Thomas Jerome
  • Garrelick, Renee

Home State

  • Massachusetts

Headings

  • -  Hudner Jr., Thomas Jerome
  • -  Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Navy.
  • -  Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Navy.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Status

  • veteran

Service History

  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

    • Branch of Service: Navy
    • Service Unit/Ship: 60th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron; Air War College; VF-53 (Fighter Squadron), USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14); VT-24 (Training Squadron); Commander in Chief Pacific Command (CINCPAC)
    • Location of Service: Vietnam
    • Highest Rank: Captain
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1973
    • Entrance into Service: Commissioned
    • Military Status: veteran
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

    • Branch of Service: Navy
    • Service Unit/Ship: USS Helena (CA 75); VF-32 (Fighter Squadron), USS Leyte (CV 32); Naval Air Advanced Training Command (NAATC); Executive Officer, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63); Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff
    • Location of Service: Korea
    • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1973
    • Entrance into Service: Commissioned
    • Military Status: veteran
    • Service History Note: The veteran earned the Medal of Honor for his service in trying to save the life of Ensign Jesse L. Brown, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. The veteran attended the Naval Academy and graduated in 1946. The veteran was serving with VF-32 during the Korean War flying F4U-4 Corsair fighters. On 12/04/1950 he crash landed his own aircraft near the Chosin Reservoir to try to rescue Ensign Jesse L. Brown, another VF-32 pilot that had been shot down. Ensign Brown was wounded and pinned in his cockpit by aircraft wreckage. Hudner worked to free the Brown with a small hand ax. He was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on 04/13/1951.

Materials

  • Manuscript: Transcript [1 item] -- Transcription of audio recording (collected 1990-07-23)
  • Audio: Audio Cassette [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 1990-07-23)
  • Photograph: Original photographic print [2 items] -- Photograph (collected 1951-2001)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/2938

Cite as

  • Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection (AFC/2001/001/2938), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • online text
  • image
  • audio
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Concord Oral History Program, Thomas Jerome Hudner Jr, and Renee Garrelick. Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.02938/.

APA citation style:

Concord Oral History Program, Hudner Jr, T. J. & Garrelick, R. (1943) Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.02938/.

MLA citation style:

Concord Oral History Program, Thomas Jerome Hudner Jr, and Renee Garrelick. Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.02938/>.