Connors, Archibald H., 1st Lt

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1952-1955, Missing In Action (MIA)
Service Years
1950 - 1952
First Lieutenant

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Home State
Florida
Florida
Year of Birth
1927
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Stephen Willcox-Deceased to remember Connors, Archibald H., 1st Lt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Jacksonvillle, FL
Last Address
Hoengsong Airfield (K-46), South Korea

Casualty Date
Jun 25, 1952
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Korea, North
Conflict
Korean War
Location of Interment
Gravely Hill Cemetery - Jacksonville, Florida
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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Aviator (Basic)


 
 Unit Assignments
US Navy (USN)3615th Pilot Training WingAdvancement Schools and CoursesLuke Air Force Base
40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron18th Fighter-Bomber GroupUS Air Force
  1945-1946, US Navy (USN)
  1950-1951, 3615th Pilot Training Wing
  1951-1951, Advanced Flight Training Course
  1951-1951, Luke Air Force Base
  1951-1952, 40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1952-1952, 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1952-1952, 18th Fighter-Bomber Group
  1952-1955, Missing In Action (MIA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1951-1952 Korean War
 Colleges Attended 
  1946-1949, Others/Not Listed
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-51/F-51 Mustang  
  1951-1952, P-51/F-51 Mustang
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"First Lieutenant Connors was the pilot of a F-51D Mustang night fighter with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Group. On June 25, 1952, while on a combat mission of escorting a search and rescue helicopter, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire, crashed and burst into flames...Source: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Korean War Honor Roll, http://www.abmc.gov - Aircraft # 44-74363 "Hit by gnd fire and crashed while escorting SAR helo, no sign of life." Source: Korwald Loss Incident Summary, http://www.dtic.mil

"On Wednesday afternoon, June 25, 1952, he was assigned to fly his 33rd combat mission, which departed from Hoengsong airbase (K-46) South Korea. Their flight of four Mustangs was to fly to the vicinity of the North Korean city of Pyonggang, approximately 20 miles north of the 38th parallel, on a Res-Cap mission (Rescue Combat Air Patrol) Their mission was to provide suppression of enemy fire in support of a USAF rescue helicopter being flown by Capt. Leslie W. Lear who, with A/1c Bobby D. Hollaway, medical technician, were attempting to rescue Navy Ensign Ronald D. Eaton, who'd been forced down in enemy territory.
On the helicopter's first penetration attempt, intense enemy ground fire was encountered which caused Capt. Lear to pull up to try another approach from a different direction. During this time Lt. Connors was flying wingman to flight leader, Capt. Elliott D. Ayer, as low cover, while 1st Lt. William E. Mc Shane and 1st Lt John E Hill remained at slighty higher altitude as protective top cover. After two aborted attempts, Lear managed a daring, but successful helicopter pick-up of the downed Navy pilot.
Although the helicopter had been badly damaged by enemy ground fire during the recovery action, the pilot managed to direct the craft toward friendly territory, but 1st Lt Connors soon radioed that his own aircraft had also been hit by ground fire, while at extremely low altitude trying to suppress the ground fire aimed at the helicopter.
Before reaching friendly territory the helicopter was observed to suddenly go into a diving spin. Three men were seen to leap from the helicopter before it crashed; however, but only one person was seen to successfully parachute to the ground. Connor's F-51 flew approximately one mile toward friendly territory, then started a steep diving turn to the right from an altitude of approximately 500 feet, appeared to go into a stall, and crashed in an almost-level attitude on the side of a small knoll near Piyang-dong, North Korea. The aircraft did not burn or explode upon impact." Source: http://www.18thfwa.org/Korea/archieConnors/archieConnors.html

Note: Other Mustangs observed an individual who appeared to be walking away and removing a parachute. On a second approach the pilot observed an empty parachute and no pilot. After another pass eight people were observed rolling up the parachute (identified as enemy), then disappeared.

   
Comments/Citation
Archie Connors was a 1945 graduate of Robert E. High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He served one year at sea as a Seaman First Class in the U.S. Navy, before returning to Jacksonville and attending Jacksonville Junior College.  He was President of the Student Council. He entered the U.S. Air Force  pilot training as an Aviation Cadet in May of 1950.

Note: After Lt. Connor's crash in 1952, the normal period of time when one is presumed dead was extended another year due to information from a captured enemy soldier. There were also some reports that he had been seen in a number of prison camps, but the Air Force officially declared him dead on February 24, 1954. In October 1955 remains were found and transferred to the United Nations forces under "Operation Glory". Identification was made of the remains - that of  Lt. Connors. The cause of death reflected injuries resulting from an air crash and it was concluded that he died as a result of the aircraft crash on June 25, 1952. Source: World Tree Project; North Fl/South GA/NY Families, http://awt.ancestry.com

   
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