4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Korean War dogfighter recognized

Retired Navy captain Royce Williams rolls in for presentation of painting

Retired Navy captain Royce Williams arrived by motorcycle.
Retired Navy captain Royce Williams arrived by motorcycle.

On Saturday morning (August 20), while walking around Sweetwater Harley Davidson with Marine veteran and salesman Bobby Bradshaw, we stopped by a poster depicting the cover of the January 2016 edition of Homeland Magazine, which shows a picture of then–Navy Lt. Royce Williams pointing to a damaged aircraft.

Now–retired Navy Captain Williams was due presently to speak to a growing gathering of mainly veterans. He arrived on the back of retired Navy chief hospital corpsman Bill “Doc” Reid’s three-wheel motorcycle, escorted by retired Navy Cpt. Art Debernarde and Mike Zajda from the Patriot Guard Riders. After handshakes all around, the sharp-as-a-tack 92-year-old Williams, wearing cowboy boots, took his seat in front of those gathered to hear him.

He began by saying he was going to recount one hour and 35 minutes out of his 38 years on active duty in the United States Navy. Specifically, he was going to speak about a mission flying an F-9 aircraft over Korea on 18 November, 1952.

Launching off the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Oriskany, Williams was one of the pilots in a four aircraft mission from Fighter Squadron Seven Hundred Eighty One (VF-781). The rest, as the saying goes, is history. History perhaps best captured by the citation accompanying the presentation of the Silver Star Medal for his actions that day:

Painting by Richard W. DeRosset

“While flying a combat patrol mission over Task Force 77 in the northeastern coastal waters of enemy-held North Korea, Lieutenant Williams demonstrated outstanding courage by placing himself and his accompanying planes between the Task Force and an attacking group of seven enemy MiG-15 aircraft, thereby protecting the Task Force from enemy attack. Having repelled the initial attack of enemy aircraft, he skillfully maneuvered his plane into position where he was able to make two firing passes on one of the enemy fighters. Breaking away after the second pass, he saw the enemy aircraft spiral into the sea. On a subsequent run he inflicted heavy damage to another enemy aircraft, which was seen to smoke badly and retire immediately from action. Although his own plane was severely damaged by a direct 23-mm. hit from one enemy MiG-15 aircraft, he maneuvered to escape yet continued his direction of the engagement until he reached cloud cover in which he dodged the enemy and returned his almost uncontrollable aircraft on board the parent carrier. This skill and daring exhibited by Lieutenant Williams and his complete disregard for his own personal safety materially aided the accomplishment of the mission of the Task Force. His courageous actions were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Williams calmly, and at times with humor, described the mission, obviously something he has done countless times. With a mixture of humility and pride, he told of fighting the Russian pilots that day. Yes, Russian pilots launching out of Vladivostok flew the MiG-15s. Williams is credited with shooting down four of the seven, even flying what he described as an aircraft inferior to those of his adversaries.

Commenting on Williams's aerial combat exploits, naval aviator and Vietnam combat veteran Debernarde said, “I feel like hiding my wings.”

In the 35 minutes of aerial combat, Williams’s aircraft was hit 263 times, a count coming from a Navy mechanic circling each hit on the plane with a marker after Williams had safely returned to the carrier. The photograph on a poster-sized display of the cover of Homeland Magazine showed some of that damage to his aircraft.

Were this all there was to his career, Williams could stand justifiably proud. But nearly 14 years later, according to the citation accompanying the Distinguished Flying Cross, in April 1966 “he personally planned and led a highly successful aerial strike against a key enemy installation in North Vietnam.”

At the end of his comments and in response to a question from the audience, Williams spoke of his involvement with prisoner of war (POW) matters during the Vietnam War. From his telling, the Navy was spurred to action by comments from Ms. Sybil Stockdale, wife of Navy Commander James Stockdale, a POW being held by the North Vietnamese.

After Mrs. Stockdale — described as a fierce advocate for POWs and their families — criticized the handling of POW matters, Williams was assigned as the Navy’s director of POW/MIA Matters. It was in this role that he authored the directives guiding the care and handling of repatriated POWs, as well as working on the aftermath of the capture of the USS Pueblo.

Williams and Richard W. DeRosset

Toward the end of the question-and-answer period, Williams wrapped up, saying, “it was an unusual mission, but it was just another mission. I was doing what I was trained to do.”

Taking the floor, “Doc” Reid then introduced artist Richard W. DeRosset, who presented Williams a gift of a painting illustrating the described aerial combat. Giving credit to Reid for putting him in contact with Williams, DeRosset characterized doing the painting as a great honor, saying, “A good painting pulls you in emotionally.”

After showing him the initial painting, DeRosset recounted that Williams said it was stunning, but not that accurate. Insisting on accuracy, DeRosset then worked closely with Williams to ensure its accuracy, ultimately leading to 17 changes.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

John Ashbery: classmate to Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara

Poems with disjunction of syntax, a prevalence of puns, whimsy and wit
Next Article

Escondido police cut off scanners

Too many criminals listening in?
Retired Navy captain Royce Williams arrived by motorcycle.
Retired Navy captain Royce Williams arrived by motorcycle.

On Saturday morning (August 20), while walking around Sweetwater Harley Davidson with Marine veteran and salesman Bobby Bradshaw, we stopped by a poster depicting the cover of the January 2016 edition of Homeland Magazine, which shows a picture of then–Navy Lt. Royce Williams pointing to a damaged aircraft.

Now–retired Navy Captain Williams was due presently to speak to a growing gathering of mainly veterans. He arrived on the back of retired Navy chief hospital corpsman Bill “Doc” Reid’s three-wheel motorcycle, escorted by retired Navy Cpt. Art Debernarde and Mike Zajda from the Patriot Guard Riders. After handshakes all around, the sharp-as-a-tack 92-year-old Williams, wearing cowboy boots, took his seat in front of those gathered to hear him.

He began by saying he was going to recount one hour and 35 minutes out of his 38 years on active duty in the United States Navy. Specifically, he was going to speak about a mission flying an F-9 aircraft over Korea on 18 November, 1952.

Launching off the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Oriskany, Williams was one of the pilots in a four aircraft mission from Fighter Squadron Seven Hundred Eighty One (VF-781). The rest, as the saying goes, is history. History perhaps best captured by the citation accompanying the presentation of the Silver Star Medal for his actions that day:

Painting by Richard W. DeRosset

“While flying a combat patrol mission over Task Force 77 in the northeastern coastal waters of enemy-held North Korea, Lieutenant Williams demonstrated outstanding courage by placing himself and his accompanying planes between the Task Force and an attacking group of seven enemy MiG-15 aircraft, thereby protecting the Task Force from enemy attack. Having repelled the initial attack of enemy aircraft, he skillfully maneuvered his plane into position where he was able to make two firing passes on one of the enemy fighters. Breaking away after the second pass, he saw the enemy aircraft spiral into the sea. On a subsequent run he inflicted heavy damage to another enemy aircraft, which was seen to smoke badly and retire immediately from action. Although his own plane was severely damaged by a direct 23-mm. hit from one enemy MiG-15 aircraft, he maneuvered to escape yet continued his direction of the engagement until he reached cloud cover in which he dodged the enemy and returned his almost uncontrollable aircraft on board the parent carrier. This skill and daring exhibited by Lieutenant Williams and his complete disregard for his own personal safety materially aided the accomplishment of the mission of the Task Force. His courageous actions were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Williams calmly, and at times with humor, described the mission, obviously something he has done countless times. With a mixture of humility and pride, he told of fighting the Russian pilots that day. Yes, Russian pilots launching out of Vladivostok flew the MiG-15s. Williams is credited with shooting down four of the seven, even flying what he described as an aircraft inferior to those of his adversaries.

Commenting on Williams's aerial combat exploits, naval aviator and Vietnam combat veteran Debernarde said, “I feel like hiding my wings.”

In the 35 minutes of aerial combat, Williams’s aircraft was hit 263 times, a count coming from a Navy mechanic circling each hit on the plane with a marker after Williams had safely returned to the carrier. The photograph on a poster-sized display of the cover of Homeland Magazine showed some of that damage to his aircraft.

Were this all there was to his career, Williams could stand justifiably proud. But nearly 14 years later, according to the citation accompanying the Distinguished Flying Cross, in April 1966 “he personally planned and led a highly successful aerial strike against a key enemy installation in North Vietnam.”

At the end of his comments and in response to a question from the audience, Williams spoke of his involvement with prisoner of war (POW) matters during the Vietnam War. From his telling, the Navy was spurred to action by comments from Ms. Sybil Stockdale, wife of Navy Commander James Stockdale, a POW being held by the North Vietnamese.

After Mrs. Stockdale — described as a fierce advocate for POWs and their families — criticized the handling of POW matters, Williams was assigned as the Navy’s director of POW/MIA Matters. It was in this role that he authored the directives guiding the care and handling of repatriated POWs, as well as working on the aftermath of the capture of the USS Pueblo.

Williams and Richard W. DeRosset

Toward the end of the question-and-answer period, Williams wrapped up, saying, “it was an unusual mission, but it was just another mission. I was doing what I was trained to do.”

Taking the floor, “Doc” Reid then introduced artist Richard W. DeRosset, who presented Williams a gift of a painting illustrating the described aerial combat. Giving credit to Reid for putting him in contact with Williams, DeRosset characterized doing the painting as a great honor, saying, “A good painting pulls you in emotionally.”

After showing him the initial painting, DeRosset recounted that Williams said it was stunning, but not that accurate. Insisting on accuracy, DeRosset then worked closely with Williams to ensure its accuracy, ultimately leading to 17 changes.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Carnevil: Halloween Pop-Up Sip, Snack, and Show, Dia De Los Muertos Art Fundraiser

Events October 31-November 3, 2020
Next Article

Oceanside's Michelle Gomez sues ex-workers for libel and gets some to back off

But not Robert Leahy
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close