July 17, 1927 ~ Jan. 1, 1965
Three young men risking their lives in the sky of the motherland
"There is no giving up in the Korean Air Force"
- Records of 203 sorties in the Korean War. The first contributor to the bombing of the Seungho-ri rail bridge,
- the real protagonist of the movie Red Scarf
"Bravo, Bravo! We did it!" At dawn on January 15, 1952, cheers and applause erupted from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US 5th Air Force. This is because news broke that the Seungho-ri rail bridge, the rear supply route for the North Korean Army, was blown up and split in two. It was the second year since the outbreak of the Korean War, and it was the moment when the South Korean Air Force succeeded in bombing the Seungho-ri rail bridge after 36 attempts by the United Nations Air Force failed. A few hours later, fighter pilot Yu Chi-gon returned to headquarters in an F-51 fighter-bomber. "There is no giving up for the Korean Air Force." These were General Yu's first words. At the age of 25, he wore a red scarf, the symbol of the Air Force, around his neck.
The Seunghori rail bridge, which ran along the Daedong River from Pyongyang, was a key point for the North Korean military to transport military supplies to the central and eastern parts of the country. The bomber had to descend from an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) to 457 m (1,500 ft) to drop bombs on the iron bridge. All the enemy's fierce missile attacks had to be avoided. In recognition of this achievement, the U.S. Air Force awarded General Yu the U.S. Air Force Medal for Flight.
General Yu Chi-gon is a national hero from Yuga-eup, Dalseong-gun, Daegu. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in April 1951. On October 11 of the same year, he flew an F-51 fighter-bomber supported by the US Air Force from Gangneung Air Base. He participated in major operations such as the bombing operation of the Seungho-ri rail bridge, the operation to retake Heights 351, and the bombing operation of the Songrim Steel Mill. He was also nicknamed 'Phoenix' at this time. By May 30, 1953, he had 203 sorties during the war. He is the only one in the history of the ROK Air Force to perform more than 200 sorties.
Even after the Korean War ended, General Yu served as a front and rear combat commander and carried out his duties. On January 1, 1965, at the age of 38, while serving as the commander of Site-107 in Daegu, he died of overwork.
He is also a model for the 1964 movie 'Red Scarf', directed by Shin Sang-ok, depicting the status of the Air Force. In June 2005, in Yuga-eup, Dalseong-gun, the hometown of General Yu, Patriotic Monument was built. Here, you can see his memorabilia, airplane models, and the history of fighter jets. In addition, the Daegu District Veterans Administration and Dalseong-gun designated some roads in Yuga-myeon as 'Yu Chi-gon Road' in June and set up stone monument.