Fighter Pilot Keeps Kills Secret to 50 Years

| May 30, 2020

Retired Navy Capt. E. Royce Williams has been keeping a secret for more than 50 years.

Guess I’ve been hanging around Stolen Valor too long to take claims at face value. I’d like to think Capt. Williams got those kills over the Korean skies, but there is no way the story didn’t spread like wildfire throughout the Squadron, and then the entire Wing. Three gun kills on a single sortie is the stuff legends are made of- making it back alive elevates it into mythology. Read the article and see for yourselves.

AW1 Rod sends.

For over 50 years, Navy fighter pilot never told anyone about secretly shooting down Russian aircraft

To his friends, family, and others he served with, Williams was known as a decorated fighter pilot, who led a successful career in the Navy, where he served for more than 30 years and flew more than 220 missions in Korea and Vietnam.

However, even his wife wasn’t aware of what he’d done on Nov. 18, 1952.

That morning, Williams was continuing what had become a daily routine for him as a young Navy pilot stationed onboard the USS Oriskany off the coast of Korea during the Korean War; flying his F9F-5 Panther fighter aircraft over the skies of North Korea to attack targets in support of operations on the ground. On this particular morning, the only difference was the targets were further north than usual – close to the country’s border with the Soviet Union.

Grumman F9F Panther

Despite a blizzard sweeping in with heavy winds and snow, Williams said the mission began successfully, with minor amounts of anti-aircraft fire. However, they hadn’t counted on the nearby Soviet base to notice their presence. Within minutes, the Soviets went to general quarters and scrambled seven MiG-15 fighters to react to the situation.

“Our combat information center notified us that there were inbound bogeys,” said Williams. “I spotted seven contrails coming from the north, and identified them as MiGs.”

Once the MiGs passed over Williams and his wingman, they circled around and split into two groups – four to the right, and three to the left. Williams lost sight of the aircraft, and was ordered to move closer to the strike group to protect it in case the Soviets attacked.


That’s when they dropped back in on Williams.

“They dropped back in and started shooting,” said Williams. “Since they started the fight, I shot back.”

Williams quickly locked on to one of the aircraft and hit it, watching as it caught fire and billowed smoke on its way down. His wingman followed it, leaving Williams alone with the remaining MiGs.

Would love to see some documentation affirming this, but I’m not holding my breath. Read the entire article here: War Is Boring
Thanks, AW1 Rod

Category: Korea, Navy

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A 2016 article/story about the same topic.

Article goes into more detail.

“Capt E. Royce Williams – The Forgotten Hero”


The best part is I did not mention that MOVIE with Kenny Loggins singing “Danger Zone”….

Can’t speak for our beloved KoB…

gabn (What…too soon?)


5th/77th FA

ninja, ‘Ed may be concerned that we have lost that loving feeling. gabn #nevertoosoon


[Retired Navy Capt. E. Royce Williams] can be my wingman, anytime!


Elmer Royce Wiliams received a Silver Star for his actions that day in November 1952:


5th/77th FA

As a rule, AW1Ed, I’m wid you. I don’t believe hardly anything I hear, unless it’s from a trusted source and only about half of what I see.

That being said, there may and or may not have been some things I saw/did/or heard about while serving in a tactical nuclear missile battalion. There may and/or may not have been similar happenings while serving in an MI Detachment (ARS) that did a lot of work with and/or for NSA and “other gubmint agencies.” Some of us took that whole “forget this/don’t discuss this” very seriously. ?!?What?!? Me remember?

My best buds Papa served on that carrier and may and/or may not have known Lt. Williams. “Flip” has been gone for over 20 years now, so we can’t ask him. And for damn sure the Russkies aren’t going to admit that one American Navy stood up to 7 MIG 15s, took out 3 of them, and got away.

Interesting article and Thanks to “we have the best” ninja for the added linkys! rtr/gabn/hbtd


Wasn’t there a movie about a Naval Aviator that had a close encounter of the MiG kind? Could this have been the inspiration? Something about the aforementioned aviator’s father getting into a dustup off the Oriskany over the wrong piece of ocean?


You know I posted that with all the love in the world, AW1Ed!

5th/77th FA

‘D you not trying to go all maverick on us and give somebody a little goose are you? You knows stories like that can only be discussed in dark clubs while wearing aviator shades…or during beach volleyball games. Gonna find yourself all oiled up, upside down in a crock pit/cock pot if you’re not careful.

Popcorn? Sody pop?

RGR 4-78

After reading all that, I need a drink, where’s the ice, man?


A departed friend (who was a no-shit Naval Aviator with the Marine Corps) referred to her as the Old-risk-yer-ass. His time was a bit later in the ’60s.


Apparently someone took “reef the sails” a little too far.

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Capt. Williams was also onboard the USS Okinawa LPH 3 from 8/78-9/78

The Other Whitey

I first read about this a few months ago. That was an incredible piece of aviating, and a testament to Grumman Iron Works. Simply surviving a 1-on-1 encounter with a MiG-15 in a straight-wing F9F-5 is quite an achievement. He went 1-on-6, splashed three outright, shot up a fourth so that he didn’t make it back, and chased off the other two, giving Ivan a nice bitch slap.

Butch O’Hare in a jet!

Green Thumb

Much like Maverick’s father.

“Viper, why are you bullshitting me?!?”


Careful, GT. I carefully alluded to that and semi-pissed off AW1Ed!


So what’s the issue here the Russian government
Verified the incident happened our government
Has and had it’s head up it’s fourth point of contact
About incidents like this during the Cold War
My dad was a colonel in the Chair force.
When he passed away in 2000.
during his illness the stories
Coming out of his mouth blew me to pieces
He retired in 1986 and then went to work for
The NRO his Diary has has a good read
The stunning thing was he never talked about
Any of his service after or during while I was growing up
I’m not saying this guys story is true or not
But Uncle Sam was doing some crazy shit
During the Cold War


Years ago I was subscribed to the magazine “Electronic Defense”.
It was published monthly by the Association of Old Crows and
featured a column titled “First Person Singular”.
The contributors were pilots and crewmembers who survived some
of the most amazing encounters aided by the ECM suites and
radar platforms of the time. Hence the moniker “Old Crows”.

One tale that had me riveted to the story was of a C-130
trying to spoof and out run a MIG. At one point going inverted
in a dive and recovering while shaking the persuit.

I don’t doubt those tales considering the source and in a
forum where BS would be called out post haste.

So rest in peace Captain. Helluva story.


My dad was a member of the Old Crows. When I was in 31Q AIT, I showed him a block diagram of an AN/TSC-85A TACSAT terminal. He looks it over and says “Get me 3 truck batteries, 2 pop tops and 6 feet of coax. I’ll jam the shit out of that.”


Does any of this involve Mickey Rooney in a helicopter? Because that would be a bridge too far…


Does any of this involve Mickey Rooney in a helicopter? Because that would be a bridge too far…

Hey, you gots your movie, I gots mine.

The Other Whitey

Yeah, but yours is depressing, and so was the book!

On the other hand, the Movie-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named was…rather gay.


But I’m sure the Navy, Department of blessed off on it, soooo…


You don’t know what you have missed by not being in the field during an Exercise.

Hot chow from the Garrison Mess Hall sent via Mermite cans. You talk about good eating. Especially fresh hot brewed coffee.

Curling up in your sleeping bag in cold, cold weather…talk about a good sleep…so cozy…

Yep, you missed out on some good stuff. Though I have to admit the few times I was on a US Navy ship during an Exercise the chow was outstanding. The Bells and Whistles were not.




I loved field living.

A new 1SG announced he was moving my Battalion Mailroom to the field. With some enthusiasm I rattled off from memory my requirements for an independant field mailroom deployment, and asked him if I was leading the detachment or was he?

He said he would get back to me. Never did.


No grief given, none taken!
Sheeet, I told that Army Recruiter man, “I wanna jump outta aero planes anna be sir-rounded by baddies”. I got me’s a taste of In-fan-treeing ans i likes ted me sum!
Beside, it’s a dirty jobbutsomeonesgottadoit.


Air Force gets all that plus a golf course, a pizza joint, and you don’t have to share your bed with another man. Unless you want to, that’s totally accepted now.


“Rather gay”? It was as gay as Lars in a Prius…

The Other Whitey

I was being nice!


Who are you, and what have you done with..

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman

All right. Not being a squid, OR a pilot. I’m not going to try to second guess the truth of the good Cpt’s story.
If anything, I would guess that it’s true.
First, he didn’t talk about his heroics for 50 years. Show me a SV phony who could do that?
Second, IIRC, enemy planes shot down aren’t counted as a “kill” unless there’s a witness to verify. And with his wingman off and gone with his own problems…..WOuld the radarman count?


Gun camera. They started being used to determine kills during WW2.


Mavericks dad might have been shot down on that mission, Viper cant talk about it.

Slow Joe

“For over 50 years, Navy fighter pilot never told anyone about secretly shooting down Russian aircraft”

If he never told anyone, why tell now?

The Other Whitey

Finally declassified.

USMC Steve

Yeah, one should not tell people stuff that is still classified info. Da Gubmint will invariably get really pizzed off about that. And the Panther was not as much of a dog aircraft as folks think. Particularly when flown by naval aviators.

5th/77th FA

SJ, you really need to get in the habit of reading, not only the post, but the attached linky. Not only do you get the “rest of the story”, but there’s usually a video of some cool sh^t, pictures, or even another linky that tells more.

I’ll help you out this one more time. Per the article, he kept quiet for 50 years, UNTIL he was notified that it had been de-classified. Then he told no one but his wife. That puts us somewhere after 2002. The original article states that their story was written in 2018. We now know, without a doubt, that there were Soviet Communist along with Chinese Communist flying Fighter Aircraft during the Korean and Viet of the Nam Times. Prolly were some that beat feet during DS and again during the OIF/OEF/WOT Times. See my comment above on things that may and/or may not have happened nearly 50 years ago when a lot of us were serving. By the same token, I’m sure that many of the younger people here have been in situations that aren’t talked about…yet.

Read…for Comprehension…it’s fun!