SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some say he’s a forgotten hero in the forgotten war.
The incredible story behind Retired Navy Captain Royce Williams and what he did during the Korean War never got told, because for the longest time, it was classified as Top Secret.
Retired Navy Captain, Royce Williams, who is from Wilmot, South Dakota flew a dangerous mission during the Korean War.
On a cold November day in 1952, Williams and others took off in their Panther fighter planes to intercept seven Russian MIG 15’s.
During one of the longest dog fights in American history, Williams is credited with single handedly shooting down at least four of them, maybe more.
“Remember this occurred at a time which tensions between the US and Russia were running very very high and in this particular case you are talking about a confrontation between US Navy fighter jets and Russian MIGs,” Senator Rounds said.
Senator Mike Rounds, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says due to the sensitivity of the incident, Williams’ acts of valor were kept top secret for decades.
“This was a very sensitive time, at a time, when the National Security Agency was just being set up and everything was top secret and because of that the evidence suggests he never really got credit for what he did,” Rounds said.
But now decades later, Williams’ military records have been unsealed and are no longer classified. Williams was awarded the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.
But Rounds says there’s a groundswell of support to get Williams the highest and most prestigious military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“You take a look at what he did in the 1950’s this gentleman appears to be very deserving of it,” Rounds said.
You’ll hear from Williams on tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND at 10 p.m. as he talks about that mission and how he was able shoot down those four Russian MIGs without being shot down himself and what he thinks about the push to get him awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A Forgotten Hero in a Forgotten War tonight at 10 p.m.