SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Navy veteran from Wilmot, South Dakota, is being recognized for his service during the Korean War.

E. Royce Williams received the Navy Cross on Friday, the Navy’s second-highest honor, for a recently declassified mission in 1952. Then-Lieutenant Williams led three F9F Panthers in the only overwater combat between the U.S. Navy and the Soviet Union. The F9F Panthers battled seven Soviet MiG-15s.

South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds was a part of the effort to recognize Williams’ part in the mission.

“Royce is a true American hero, and I am pleased he is finally receiving the Navy Cross,” Rounds said in a statement. “As the second-highest military decoration for sailors and marines, it is truly reserved for those who displayed extraordinary heroism in combat with armed enemy forces. His distinguished actions over 70 years ago is a story for the ages. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Royce, and I am grateful for his service to our nation.”