Originally created 12/16/00

Historical air battle recalled 121600 - The Augusta Chronicle



Your "Today in History" feature on Nov. 8 noted that on that day in 1950 the first jet plane air battle took place with Lt. Russell Brown of the U.S. Air Force shooting down a MIG 15.

Recording history is a never-ending process. As Americans suspected at the time, and as we now know for sure, all of the MIG 15 pilots in Korea in 1950 were Soviet fliers.

Recent finds in the newly opened Soviet archives suggest that Lt. Brown's adversary on Nov. 8 was crippled and fled the scene but made it safely back to his base in Manchuria. What Lt. Brown thought was a crashed plane was the explosion of dropped fuel tanks.

Lt. Russell Brown deserves credit for the first jet air-to-air combat in history but credit for the first MIG kill may belong to Lt. Cmdr. William Amen of the U.S. Navy who shot down a confirmed MIG the next day, Nov. 9. I refer you to Ralph Wetterhahn's article, "The Russians of MIG Alley," in the August 2000 issue of Retired Officer magazine.

Russell K. Brown, Grovetown

(Editor's note: The writer is not related to the Lt. Russell Brown discussed in the letter.)