Navy Pilot’s Devotion To His Wingman Endures 65 Years

May 30, 2016

This story originally aired December 2, 2015. 

Sixty-five years ago this week, U.S. Navy Ensign Jesse Brown's plane was hit during the Korean War. The shot forced Brown to crash land atop a snowy, rocky mountain behind enemy lines. He survived, but was pinned inside the fighter plane as it burned. Brown's wingman and friend, Lt. Tom Hudner, circled in the sky, watching with a difficult choice. Should he let Brown die or try a rescue mission?

In the end, there was no choice for Hudner. He attempted the rescue, but failed to save Brown. The story of the duo is one of friendship that crossed the racial divide in America's era of segregation. Denver writer Adam Makos shares that story in his new book, "Devotion." He spoke to Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.