What Were the Yalu River Restrictions on UN Pilots in the Korean War?

 

Yalu River Restrictions? Real or Myth?

bombing Yalu River bridge in Korean War

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by jose castillo

i recently sent the following to an air force history website, but want to check my facts and find more information. what do folks out there know about this?

dear sirs,
i enjoyed the Korean war history by Mr. Boyne, but i must comment.
Boyne cites the flight restrictions u.s. pilots operated under as being a major disadvantage for them in engaging the MiGs in combat, especially the prohibition on crossing the Yalu river into china. well, there were stringent rules, and they were even enforced occasionally (a pilot early in the war was grounded and sent home for crossing the river), but these engagement rules were also routinely ignored.
my uncle was Pete Fernandez, the third leading American ace of the war, and according to him, if you wanted to get MiGs later in the war, you had to cross the river and trick or goad them to come up and fight.
this is the reason that so many kills were chalked up by a relatively small number of pilots. those who strictly followed the rules didn’t get many kills, and getting kills was the name of the game, especially by ’53.
it was the “cowboys” like Blesse and Fischer and McConnell and my uncle who racked up the big scores by deliberately breaking the rules. it isn’t pretty, but that’s how it happened. there’s an hour long history channel documentary that airs occasionally, “aces of the Korean war,” i think it’s called, and a Korea ace basically lays out the same info. i can’t remember which one, maybe it was major Blesse, or maybe it was Fischer; do a google search for Harold Fischer, and you can find his account of the same routine disregard for the Yalu river restrictions. so just as we’ve updated our war histories to reflect the additional information we now have from the Russian archives, we should do the same for the mythology of strict rules of engagement, as the picture become clearer of how things actually worked out.
thanks for your time.

ps- if Mr. Boyne does a web search for info on Russian aces in the war, he’ll see that they too were operating under-and complaining about!–flight restrictions. i guess pilots always want a freer hand to fly wherever they want, it’s a natural tendency… 37 101 2355 37.1064930170

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by Greg_P

Funny you should mention the rules.

 

Rules are for saps.

When you are in a war, the REAL rules are as follows:

1) Follow your rules until the other side breaks them or until you ascertain that Washington is full of idiots who just want to kill you with rules.

2) When the other side breaks the rules, the rules are off. Kill the bastards.

3) If Washington is trying to kill you with rules, resign & go home or ignore them and go kill the bastards. 37 108 505 37.1065163342

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by jose castillo

good responses, and i agree. as a former grunt in the marines, my heart is always with the trooper in the field–or in this case, the pilot.
i did not bring up this debate to question whether these flight restrictions were good or bad, or whether military men should or shouldn’t obey the lawful orders of their commanders, though these are both very interesting discussions worth having. nor do i criticize the men who disobeyed their orders and shot down MiGs over china. hey, my uncle was one of them, and he was an all-around great guy.
i am, however, willing to criticize historians like Mr. Boyne who still peddle rubbish about how hamstrung American pilots were by the supposed restrictions of the Yalu river. we are having an interesting discussion in this forum of the actual reality, and that is a very healthy thing for the discourse. but meanwhile, Mr. Boyne has the bully pulpit of television, where he is interviewed on all the documentaries and is considered the authority on the air war over Korea.
hey, all I’m really trying to say is just as we have happily dealt with new archival evidence about Russian honchos clandestinely participating in air combat, so too should we deal with the reality of dogfights over Manchuria. the best website I’ve encountered with hard facts on this subject is the POW/MIA Research Project. they’ve been looking for the actual crash sites to excavate, to recover u.s. pilot remains. hence, if they want to succeed, they don’t have the luxury to indulge in Boyne-like self delusion; they have to stick to the facts. i highly recommend a visit to their website for anyone researching this subject.
thanks for the feedback! 37 112 1716 37.1065574084

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by max_g_cunningham

Before we completely trash this guy, I hasten to add that Boyne’s a pretty darn good, and prolific aviation writer, and a recognized authority on SAC, and particularly the B-47 era.

So maybe he’s got a different perspective, opinion, or viewpoint, on this topic, shallow, or otherwise,,,. I don’t believe he flew fighters in combat, and therefore, if you did, or know someone who did, chances are, you have further insight perhaps behind his opinions.

I know that I have enjoyed some of his writing, and have found it poignant and insightful.

As far as I know, he’s not a big fighter expert, although he has written a book “Wild Blue” and contributes articles to Airpower and Wings. Generally speaking, and in the broadest sense he IS considered an authority on the history of air warfare.

Remember also that Television is by definition (no pun) and nature a shallow medium, and that’s another reason why it’s so very important to teach our kids to read,,, lest they grow up relying on CNN. God help us,,,. MC 😕 37 114 1085 37.1065699479

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by jose castillo

that’s a good measured response re: Mr. Boyne. the excellent efforts he’s made in other areas remain worthwhile. why he doesn’t correct this one glaring error in his body of work is beyond me.

besides, it’s not just Boyne. i watched last week (Oct. 2003) on the Wings Channel an ongoing series called Fighter. the episode was entitled, “Mission: Dogfight.” anyway, they ran a good 5 minutes of the one hour show (really 45 min after commercials) just on MiG Alley. They repeated all the same claptrap about the severe restrictions that American fighter jets operated under, the 10-to-1 kill ratio favoring the Sabre over the MiG, etc. (with adjustments for the Russian archives, it was still an incredible and unprecedented 7-to-1; why gild the lily?).

curiously, they did have current facts from the soviet archives confirming that “honchos,” crack Russian pilots, operated clandestinely out of Chinese airbases. does the inclusion of this exposed secret of the soviets, but the neglect of the other exposed secret of the Americans, suggest a political agenda in the making of these documentaries? or is it simply sloppy research that doesn’t check facts and repeats errors made previously? you tell me, because i don’t know…

why do i have emotion about all this? the reason is because if working and retired regular guys like us can deal squarely with the reality in forums like this, why can’t these professional researchers who make a living at the game get the same straight facts?

my other gripe is–like it or not–television is the dominant media form, especially for the youth. hence, while esoteric outlets like ours get it right, the mainstream lesson being taught to millions on the TV is a false one. such manipulation of information, whether intentional or through indifferent carelessness, runs counter to the democratic ideal of encouraging a well-informed citizenry.

the roman orator Cicero once said a people unaware of their history remain children forever. i might add that kids, as we all know, will fall for just about anything. only by arming ourselves with correct knowledge of what really happened before us can we participate as self-confident “adults” in a healthy democracy. ok, I’ll climb down off my soapbox….for now! 37 130 2337 37.1066671763

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by jose castillo

i have some questions about the last response. we know the usaf records on the Korean air war are flawed, that point is not even up for contention (in addition to many pilot “confessions” now available, you could check out the excellent work being done at univ. of Kansas by Stephen Sewell, Conrad crane, etc.)…

yet you find revising the history to be “dangerous;” how so? what to you consider continuing to use the flawed records to be? safe & secure? (i guess those are the opposites of dangerous…)

if we are afraid to challenge the official records, especially when we KNOW they are wrong, isn’t this the dangerous mentality of citizens in police states who fear upsetting the dominant interpretation of events for fear of offending the powers that be?

when the populace of communist countries has this kind of attitude, we think of them as dupes who are afraid to struggle for liberation/freedom. I’m not sure how fear & suspicion of revising flawed history in the US is any different.

you complain that researchers bring their bias to their historical revisionism: but of course they do! all researchers bring their bias into their work. if you are looking for impartial history, a “silver bullet” type analysis that is the “right” one, and you can read & ignore all the others, then i think you have a difficult search ahead of you.

if you accept everyone is biased in one form or another, then to get a grasp on events you have to read several histories from differing points of view, & draw you own conclusions.

of course, all the above is necessary only if one’s agenda is trying to figure out what really happened in a give time or place, in this case, Korea. if one’s agenda is not an honest evaluation of history, but rather simply to pay homage to American fighter pilots for being great heroes, then none of these steps are necessary.

if that is where you are coming from, i recognize your right to honor these brave men, and we should leave it at that. there is no reason to raise our cybernetic voices and become defensive, rude, etc. we just are coming from a different point of view as to the uses of history.

i too want to honor the fighter pilots of Korea, but my way is different. honoring the reality rather than the mythology is just my choice, not the “correct” one.

remember the great line by the newspaperman in the movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? “This is the West, my friend,” he says. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

his point was not to rock the boat, not to undermine the status quo with the real history of what happened. many folks feel not challenging the dominant myths of our society, is more important that historical accuracy. to them, social/political stability that the mythology encourages is more important than anything else. maybe this is what you meant by revisionism being “dangerous”?

i am not one of those people. i don’t say they are wrong, only that my priorities are different. i believe democracy is about following the truth wherever it leads, no matter the result. your view of democracy may be about protecting the reputation/mythology of this great country we live in, no matter the result.

i am not “right” in what i do, nor are you “wrong;” we just take different approaches.

ps- to al Lowe: you make a good point. certainly, some pilots, as Mr. Boyne contends, must have been “hamstrung” because they would not cross the Yalu, but the more research i do, the more of a minority they appear to have been. i at first thought only the top aces crossed, but apparently even the fliers who weren’t “shooters,” (the non-MiG killers) would cross the river with the big scorers, and cover their “six” as their wingmen… usually, the big names or higher-ranking guys would fly as the killer, and lower-ranking pilots would be regulated to the protection role. that’s another reason the top aces got so many kills: they pulled rank!

i wouldn’t say Boyne’s contention of hamstrung 4th fighter-interceptor wing was non-existent, but i would argue it was a minor factor, not the major impediment Boyne (& other “high profile” US historians) routinely portray it as…

I’m enjoying the debate underway in these pages very much! later, jose c. 37 185 4550 37.1068476896

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by Al Lowe

I would say this about revisionism. IF you’re revising history to get at the truth, fine, go for it. I think that needs to be done, if possible.

But be aware, there are MANY revisionists who are revising history for their own political agenda.

But if you can prove something happened, or didn’t happen, then I think that needs to be said.

My only caveat to that is, if you SUSPECT something, but there’s no or very little proof, then leave it alone.

That’s my opinion anyway.

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by Diego Zampini

Good afternoon everybody. My name is Diego Fernando Zampini and I am Argentinean. I participated in this forum a couple of times a year ago or so. I am friend of one of the message posters here (José Castillo) and he told me about the interesting discussion ‘Restrictions to cross the Yalu: Myth or Reality?’. The ultimate question seemed to be: ‘MiG-Killers crossing the Yalu, Rule or Exception?’ Did only the top aces go to Manchuria? Or were most of the Sabre pilots? Were actually the US pilots frustrated by the restrictions about not trespassing the Yalu? I think the answer is: depends on the period you talk about. If you analyze the accounts of American pilots in the whole year 1951, the answer is YES, THEY WERE HAMSTRUNG. And that is confirmed by the Soviet records at that time, because not a single MiG was shot down by a Sabre while landing or scrambling in Manchurian airbases. But since early 1952 the Sabre pilots began to ‘visit’ Manchuria, initially only the crack aces like Gabreski, Mahurin and Whisner, but later began to be a common practice, not restricted only to aces. And the hamstring depends on how strict was the commander about breaking the rules. If the commander was permissive, there was no hamstring. Let me support my assertions with solid facts. Let’s see:
-On May 3 1952 two F-86E Sabres of 16th FIS, 51st FIW, flown by Capt. William “Nuts” Nowadnick (leader) and 1st Lt. Albert G. Tenney (wingman) were chasing a Russian MiG-15 of the 148th GIAP flown by Sr.Lt. Mussin while it was approaching to land in Myagou airbase in MANCHURIA, and Tenney hit it with machinegun fire. When the Russian pilot cried for help in the radio, a pair of MiG-15s of the 821st IAP of 190th IAD (for the people who are not familiar with the Russian acronyms, IAP means ‘Fighter Regiment’ and IAD means ‘Fighter Division’) leaded by Sr.Lt. Mazikin ran to help him, and despite he couldn’t prevent that Tenney shot down Mussin, he shot down and killed Tenney. That day other 3 MiGs were shot down in the same fashion: Donald Adams shot down the MiGs of Kulakov and Kunanov and James Raebel shot down and killed Yefimov. Adams was an ace, but Raebel and Tenney were not.
-On May 31 1952 several MiG-15s of the 821st IAP who had previously shot down the RF-51D of Paul Kniss (POW), were caught by surprise by Sabres of the 335th FIS near their Manchurian base with the landing gear already down, and Francis Vetort shot down and killed Ivan Denissov (Vetort was not an ace).
-Nikolai Ivanov, a MiG-15 ace with 6 F-86 kills to his credit, asserted that in August 1952 more than the half of the MiGs lost in action were because of Sabre runs when the MiGs were taking-off or landing. That months the Russians lost 22 MiGs, so at least 11-13 MiGs were lost by Sabres who crossed the Yalu, two of them on August 20 1952 while taking-off by Blesse and his wingman William Ballinger (Nikolai Ivanov witnessed the attack of the US Sabres and the death of both Soviet pilots).
-On September 4 1952, 6 Russian MiGs out of a total amount of 11 claims were shot down over the Manchurian airfields by raiding Sabres. Three of them during the take off by Ira Porter, Justin Livingstone (both 335th FIS) and Leonard Lilley a little bit later (334th FIS). [Porter should pay the prize, he met the MiG-15 ace Mikhail Mihin of 518th IAP, 216th IAD and got to bail out over the Yellow Sea] Another group of F-86s were waiting for unaware MiGs in approach pattern over Antung, when they were caught by surprise by the MiG-15 of Sr.Lt. Mikhail Zatolkin (518th IAP) who shot down the F-86E of Roland Parks (who was taken prisoner in Chinese soil, as the Soviet records clearly show). Later Frederick “Boots” Blesse scored his 5th MiG kill (S. Titov, KIA), who was also shot down over his own airfield (Antung) in Manchuria. Blesse and Lilley were aces, but Porter, Livingstone and Parks were not.
-Next day (September 5 1952) Nikolai Ivanov was taking off when suddenly his airfield was ‘visited’ by two Sabres, which arrival was covered by a thick cloud cover. Ivanov engage full throttle and somehow could force the F-86s to overshoot, so he steeply climbed and got into the same cloud cover that helped the F-86s. When he got out of the clouds, he found a single F-86 ahead and shot it down (the RF-86A of William Sney).
When on January 22 1953 Ivan Karpov shot down the CO of the 16th FIS Lt.Col. Edwin Heller and on April 7 1953 both the MiG-15 aces Dmitri Yermakov and Grigorii Berelidze (224th IAP, 32nd IAD) shot down the 10-kills ace Harold Fischer, and both US pilots became POWs in the ‘wrong side of the Yalu’, during at least a month the 5th AF commanders got mad and threatened with court-martial anyone who go to Manchuria. But as soon as the things calmed down, the US aircraft began to pay visits to Antung, Myagou (Tatangkou in US nomenclature) and Dapu (Fen Cheng) again.
-On June 5 1953 the Soviets lost 4 MiGs, 3 of them while taking off from Dapu airbase: Lt.Col. Julian Harvey and 1st Lt. Frank Fraser shared the shootdown of Sr. Lt. Tzarenko (KIA); later Lonnie Moore shot down Pushkarev and share the kill of Kucherenko’s MiG with 2nd Lt. William Schrimsher. Moore was an ace, and Schrimsher was his wingman, but Harvey and Fraser were not aces.
-On June 10 1953 the Americans were even more audacious: a group of F-86Fs of the 35th FBS armed with rockets and escorted by the F-86Es of the 25th FIS planned the knock out the Russian airbase of Dapu (about 20 aircraft in total, according to the Soviet records). Somehow the Russians could detect the intruders just in time and two MiG-15 flights could scramble. The first one was leaded by Captain Semen Fedorets, who kept on flying at tree top level until the fighter-bombing Sabres (which were flying at 600 meters high) were almost over his heads, then performed a climbing turn and ended at only 200 meters behind the leading F-86F and blasted it out of the sky (the pilot, Robert Coury, became a POW). The escorting F-86Es tried to engage Fedorets’ flight but were also jumped by the second MiG-15 flight, leaded by the WW2 ace Dmitri Yermakov (25 kills against Luftwaffe aircraft) who shot down and killed Floyd Salze. After that the attack is disrupted and all the Sabres ran away towards the Yellow Sea. Officially Coury’s and Salze’s Sabres fell by ‘flak’ and ‘engine trouble at high altitude’. But if it is so, Why the Soviet records mention Coury as captured in Chinese soil? And why Salze was unable to eject at high altitude? (simply because he wasn’t flying so high, and when Yermakov hit his Sabre, Salze was unable to bail out). Neither Coury nor Salze were aces.
I choose these incidents, but there were many others. And all lead in one direction: not only the top aces were crossing the Yalu into Manchuria looking for unaware MiGs, also ordinary Sabre pilots were doing so. It is clear that since mid-1952 onwards there was no American hamstring about going to Manchuria, and the restrictions were re-established only when some ace or commander fell in the wrong side of the Yalu or the losses were too high.
Of course, you are free to disagree with me, but please analyze this solid data first. Kind regards all,
Diego Fernando Zampini

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by max_g_cunningham

by “jose castillo”]i have some questions about the last response. we know the usaf records on the Korean air war are flawed, that point is not even up for contention (in addition to many pilot “confessions” now available, you could check out the excellent work being done at univ. of Kansas by Stephen Sewell, Conrad crane, etc.)…

yet you find revising the history to be “dangerous;” how so? what to you consider continuing to use the flawed records to be? safe & secure? (i guess those are the opposites of dangerous…)

Ok Jose, Fair enough.

You seem pretty sure of yourself on this topic.

And I don’t profess to be an authority on this particular topic, behind reading and subscribing to the conventional summaries.

I just want to add some general commentary, and warnings about so-called “historical revisionism.”

Assume for a moment I’m totally new to this,

So, how exactly is it, that it is known that the official USAF records are falsified, grossly exaggerated, or otherwise highly inaccurate ?

I’ll concede ahead of time that all war time records are susceptible to exaggeration to a certain extent. With revisionism however, there’s a very fine line between correcting inaccuracies, and further distortion, and that’s a huge responsibility.

As an example,
I came across an economics paper that happened to be about contemporary Japan, recently, that made reference to the United States Civil War as being merely round 3, by extension of 1812, and the original US war of independence all against England. An interesting thought, but the writer offered little in evidence to support the assertion, in that particular paper.

Are there more reliable, detailed, and accurate records held elsewhere that contradict those official USAF versions ?

Are you using the Russian and N. Korean records ? Do you trust their motives and agenda, at the time these were compiled ? This was a country that lied compulsively throughout the cold war.

Questioning the conventional version is acceptable, at any time.
After all it’s a free country, and that’s the main reason why our popular press can be trusted, more or less.

However, With Korea now slowing fading from living memory, although it’s fine to debate all this, let’s tread very carefully before advertising the revised theories, as the new, and better truth.

As Al backed me up, I meant dangerous among perspectives including, the re-writing and revision of history to favor personal opinions, to support theories, instincts, beliefs, judgments, political and personal agenda’s, etc, etc,,.

It’s fine to have opinions, theories, and thoughts, but that doesn’t qualify those as official record, no matter what, until it’s passed the test of true and protracted scrutiny, and wide spread acceptance by a broad consensus of acknowledged experts, and interested parties. Perhaps this is a step towards that outcome, but it’s too early to declare, the conventional version as being trash.

Also, If you take off on that mission, you’d better be awfully confident of the revised version that you’re peddling, lest another expert gets locked onto you’re six and blows you away with some facts that may have been entirely overlooked in your argument. 😉

There’s always someone out there, who may know something, we don’t.

We’ve seen this before, recently, right here, on this forum, on a closely related thread. 😉

Take care.
MC 37 196 3719 37.1069361632

Ongoing Historical Questions OR Revisionism, by acepil2

I think we all may “in violent agreement.”

“Revisionism” is a value-laden word, which implies that the “revisionist” has an axe to grind.

Studying Soviet records to get a more accurate estimate of USAF claims is a perfectly worthwhile, non-controversial part of “ongoing historical research.” John Lundstrom has done similar work on the Pacific War, piecing together Japanese records, comparing them to US claims. The records examined are not public propaganda statements, but (presumably reliable) combat unit archives.

It’s an accepted fact that, in total, fighter claims (all countries, all wars) are overstated. Let’s try to get the best answers.

As for trying to change official USAF or other “authoritative” sources, that’s a “whole ‘nother ball game.”

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by Greg_P

I don’t believe in revisionism … unless there is proof that the specific instance in question is recorded incorrectly in that country’s armed services history.

By way of example …

When we entered WWII, we only counted air-to-air victories where the target was shot down in flames or the enemy pilot bailed out. Damaged planes that bellied in later were not counted, nor were planes on the ground. Only planes that were piloted counted as well.

Gunners in bombers were never granted kills because so many guns were bearing on any fighters attacking a bomber formation.

So, German V1’s didn’t count, nor did planes destroyed on the ground. Later in WWII, however, planes destroyed on the ground DID count. So all those guys who might have been aces if their ground kills were counted were robbed.

Case in point, many people want Pappy Boyington’s score revised downward. Almost all the people I have read on the subject are fans of either Joe Foss or Marion Carl. Think they have an axe to grind? Or what?

I say that if they want to revise Pappy Boyington’s score, then they need to look closely at ALL the aces’ scores, not just his. Point is, if you’re going to apply revisionist policies to Boyington, do it to everyone and then there is no concern for “bias.” If you don’t want to do that, then shut up and live with history.

I agree with the Marine Corps.

Pappy’s score is 28, unless you want to revisit ALL scores. If so, have at it, and let the chips fall where they may. Until then, 28 is correct. And before you chime in here, I am NOT one of those people whose mind is made up already about the result of revisions.

History is recorded and credit has already been assigned. Let it stand unless the whole list is to be reviewed.

Otherwise, the “top ace” in each category (i.e., Marine, ETO, PTO, etc.) will always be just a “target” for those whose father or friend was number two. 37 223 2036 37.1071972241

Yalu River restrictions: strict rules or a myth? – by Al Lowe

by “Greg_P”]I don’t believe in revisionism … unless there is proof that the specific instance in question is recorded incorrectly in that country’s armed services history.

By way of example …

When we entered WWII, we only counted air-to-air victories where the target was shot down in flames or the enemy pilot bailed out. Damaged planes that bellied in later were not counted, nor were planes on the ground. Only planes that were piloted counted as well.

Gunners in bombers were never granted kills because so many guns were bearing on any fighters attacking a bomber formation.

So, German V1’s didn’t count, nor did planes destroyed on the ground. Later in WWII, however, planes destroyed on the ground DID count. So all those guys who might have been aces if their ground kills were counted were robbed.

Actually, many people today still don’t count those as “aces.” It’s been recognized by many that the granting of ground kills toward acedom was an effort to get the pilots to go down and strafe the enemy. If you ask me, that’s tougher and more dangerous than air-to-air and should still be treated the same.

by “Greg_P”]
Case in point, many people want Pappy Boyington’s score revised downward. Almost all the people I have read on the subject are fans of either Joe Foss or Marion Carl. Think they have an axe to grind? Or what?

If it wasn’t for the fact that the truth about his AVG claims came out, no one would be asking for his score to be revised. The sad truth is, he didn’t have as many air-to-air victories as he claimed. As for his score as a Marine Fighter pilot, he claims he got 22. Foss got 26 while flying as a Marine, that makes him the top MARINE ace, if you count Boyington’s 6 from the AVG. Yeah, his total is 28, if you don’t discount the ground kills that he counted as aerial kills, but he wasn’t a Marine then. He was a mercenary.

by “Greg_P”]
I say that if they want to revise Pappy Boyington’s score, then they need to look closely at ALL the aces’ scores, not just his. Point is, if you’re going to apply revisionist policies to Boyington, do it to everyone and then there is no concern for “bias.” If you don’t want to do that, then shut up and live with history.I agree with the Marine Corps.

Pappy’s score is 28, unless you want to revisit ALL scores. If so, have at it, and let the chips fall where they may. Until then, 28 is correct. And before you chime in here, I am NOT one of those people whose mind is made up already about the result of revisions.

History is recorded and credit has already been assigned. Let it stand unless the whole list is to be reviewed.

Otherwise, the “top ace” in each category (i.e., Marine, ETO, PTO, etc.) will always be just a “target” for those whose father or friend was number two.

Given time, I’m sure that anyone who’s claims are “hazy” will be investigated. Research in this area is an ongoing process. It takes time and can not be done over night. As much as there are pilots whose claims were questionable, there are also those who are above reproach.

Myself, I don’t have a stake in this argument, I’m neither for nor against Boyington, Foss, or Carl. But I say if someone finds proof that someone maybe “embellished” their claims, you correct it where and when you can.

And for those unaware, there are many questions about Robert “Butcher Bob” Hanson’s score too, but as he was KIA, not many historians talk much about it. I expect though, that if any real proof surfaces in the next few years, his score of 25 may be closely scrutinized too.