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GeneralLee Geun-seok

Jan. 17, 1917 ~ July 4, 1950

Korea's first fighter squadron commander
"Burning with flowers in the gray sky"

  • Hit while flying, rush straight into the enemy.
  • Fiercely oxidized at the age of three... First fighter pilot died.
On June 28, 1950, when the South Korean Air Force's light aircraft could not destroy the enemy's relentlessly southwardly advancing T-34 tank, the US Far East Air Force Command provided 10 F-51 Mustangs to the ROK Air Force, and Colonel Lee Geun-seok took over as the commander of the squadron flight that drove the F-51 fighters supported by the US military to the Daegu base.

On July 4, 1950, Colonel Lee Geun-seok became the squadron commander of the Mustang Air Force provided by the US Far East Air Force Command and set out for the first time sortie. On the ground, cheered by the base soldiers who prayed for the long flight of the squadron resounded. Returning to his base colleague by slowly orbiting over the base with the squadron, he turned the plane head to the north.

As General Lee descended, fired rockets at the enemy and raised the nose, General Lee's fighter was hit by the enemy's anti-aircraft guns. But he was calm. He watched the enemy's movements once more. The enemy's ammunition vehicle was visible at the far left. He finally picked up the walkie-talkie. "No.3 attacking ammunition vehicles on the left side road, good luck." With this last command, he rushed the fighter straight into the enemy tanks.
At the age of 33, Lee oxidized with a fighter in this way, and was recorded as the first fighter pilot killed. For the first time in the Air Force, General Lee was awarded the Taegeuk Martial Service Medal and a one-class special promotion.

Born in Pyeongwon, South Pyongan Province, General Lee graduated from Pyongyang High School and learned piloting at the Kumagaya Flight School in Japan in 1934 when he was 17 years old. His talent was so outstanding that his instructor called him a 'genius of flying art'. When he arrived in Korea motherland after liberation, he concentrated on the creation of the Air Force.

Daegu Air Base (11th Fighter Wing) holds a memorial ceremony on July 4 every year to commemorate General Lee Geun-seok, a Mustang fighter pilot who was oxidized by destroying a North Korean vehicle.