East County News Service
Photo via San Diego GI Film Festival
July 16, 2022 (Washington D.C.) -- A measure introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa aims to recognize Korean War veteran and retired Navy Captain Royce Williams of Escondido, 97, with a Congressional Medal of Honor. The measure, supported by San Diego’s full Congressional delegation, was overwhelmingly approved by the House and added to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It will now advance to the Senate.
In a speech on the House Floor, Issa hailed Williams as “an American hero and a Top Gun pilot like no other” for his valor during a 30-minute U.S.-Soviet aerial combat dogfight off the coast of North Korea 70 years ago.
“On that unforgettable day in 1952, Capt. Williams alone faced seven Soviet MiG-15s – impossible odds by any conventional measure,” Issa stated. “Royce shot down four. He also survived a 37-millimeter round to his fuselage, where six inches to the right or left would have meant certain death. Despite the immense damage to his jet, he made a near-perfect landing on the deck of his aircraft carrier. This was an act of indomitable courage and the demonstration of the highest skill under incalculable duress.”
The incident was hushed up for years to avoid inflaming international tensions, but the records were recently declassified and made public.
Williams was previously awarded the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.