On November 18, 1952, LT E. Royce Williams from his ship the USS Oriskany, off the coast of Korea, was given a bombing mission against North Korean targets as part of a strike group. The pilots flew near a river that bordered the Soviet Union. Upon completing their mission, they received information that 7 MIGs were scrambled to intercept them. Williams was ordered to return and provide protection for his ship.
While flying alone, four MIGs flew at Royce with guns blazing. He quickly rolled his Panther to drop behind the fourth plane in formation and by engaging his single weapon, a machine gun (with only 750 rounds), took him out. The MIGs regrouped and reattacked. For about thirty-five minutes the battle continued with Williams shooting down four MIGs and possibly five. Eventually, he was hit by a 37mm shell which went into the engine and exploded, damaging his hydraulics. Still he battled until he had no ammunition. To escape a pursuing aircraft, he flew up into the clouds. He knew with his plane full of holes and performing poorly, that if he ejected over the water or attempted a crash landing on enemy soil, he would certainly die. Stubbornly he flew on toward his ship. As he drew close to the Task Force they opened fire on him until the Commanding Officer saw what was happening and ordered a cease fire. Somehow, Williams with a dead stick, landed his F9F Panther on his carrier without crashing. When the plane was inspected they found 263 holes in it!
Because the US was not at war with the USSR, the mission was classified as Top Secret. It would be 50 years before this story was declassified. Williams went on to fly over 220 missions, serving for over 30 years before retiring in 1980 at the rank of Captain. Despite flying an inferior aircraft and outnumbered 7-1, this South Dakotan did something unmatched in aerial combat to this day. He received the Silver Star for his heroics—an inferior award for such heroism. Today there is a strong push to award this 95 year-old veteran the Medal of Honor.
2 Samuel 23:9,10--After him, Eleazar son of Dodo son of an Ahohite was among the three warriors with David when they defied the Philistines. The men of Israel retreated in the place they had gathered for battle, but Eleazar stood his ground and attacked the Philistines until his hand was tired and stuck to his sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the troops came back to him, but only to plunder the dead.
Like Royce, Eleazar refused to flee from battle. Outnumbered and facing ridiculous odds, the son of Dodo held his ground and won. What possessed this warrior to stand while his countrymen retreated? Oswald Chambers once said, “It is a great thing to see physical courage, and greater still to see moral courage, but the greatest to see of all is spiritual courage, to see a man who will stand true to the integrity of Jesus Christ no matter what he is going through.” How are you standing? If you are steadfast with Jesus, your victory is assured!
When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death—that is heroism.—Robert Green Ingersoll
©2020 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)