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Robbie Risner - FU Hero

Posted by Jolly on October 4, 2008


Robbie Risner was born in Arkansas in 1925, grew up in Oklahoma, and entered the Army Air Forces in 1943. He earned his wings in May, 1944, then flew P-38s and P-39s in Panama until the war ended. After five years in the Reserves (flying P-51s), he was recalled to active duty in 1951 for the Korean crisis. Captain Risner arrived in Korea in May 1952, originally assigned to a photoreconnaissance outfit, but he soon obtained a transfer to the 336th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, based at Kimpo.

He shot down his first MiG on August 5, 1952, and then scored again September 9, September 15, and twice on September 21, making him the 20th American ace of the conflict.

On October 22, 1952, he was flying escort for some fighter-bombers; to screen them, he had to fly across the Yalu, right above the big Chinese air base at Antung. He immediately encountered four MiGs that turned and flew deeper into China. Staying with them anyway, Risner fired at extreme range at the tail-end Charlie and shattered his canopy glass.



As Risner and his wingman, Lt. Joe Logan, were leaving the Chinese airfield, the flak caught Joe's fuel tank. Jet fuel and hydraulic fluid spewed out from the wounded Sabre. Robinson instantly decided to try an unprecedented and untried maneuver; he would push the crippled fighter with his, about 60 miles to the UN rescue base on the island of Cho Do. He radioed Joe to shut down his engine. He carefully inserted the nose of his F-86 into the exhaust of Logan's plane and tired to keep the two planes together. The turbulence kept bouncing and separating the two jets, but Risner was able to re-establish contact and guide the powerless plane out over the sea. Near Cho Do, Lt. Logan bailed out, after radioing to Risner, "I'll see you at the base tonight."

 Risner stayed in radio contact with the rescue helicopter. Joe, a strong swimmer, landed close to shore, and the chopper tried to blow him in with the rotors. Tragically, Joe Logan didn't make it; he became tangled in his parachute lines and drowned.  Risner shot down two more MiGs, for a total of eight, before he left Korea in mid-1953.

Risner stayed in the Air Force, commanding fighter squadrons based in GermanyRisner_time_magazing.jpg and the United States. In April, 1965, flying combat over North Vietnam in F-105s with the 67th TFS Fighting Cocks, he was shot down and rescued. But five months later, in September, his luck ran out and he was shot down a second time. This time the North Vietnamese captured him, and held him prisoner for over 7 years. He was re-patriated in February, 1973.  He told his moving, heroic story in The Passing of the Night: My Seven Years as a Prisoner of the North Vietnamese 

After his return the United States, he was promoted to Brigadier General. He retired from the Air Force in 1976.  Robbie Risner is a double recipient of the Air Force Cross, the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Air Force and is a true FU Hero.




Posted by Guns on
Good call on Risner in the Hall of Fame you should add Jack Broughton
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