Korean War Double Ace Dies

Retired Col. Harold E. Fischer, a double ace of the Korean War and one of 15 US airmen held prisoner by China, died April 30 in Las Vegas. He was 83. Fischer flew 105 combat missions in F-80s initially during the Korean War, then switched to the F-86 and returned to combat, ultimately scoring 10 aerial victories. According to a 1998 article he wrote for Sabre Jets magazine, debris from a MiG-15 he had fired on struck his F-86, stopping the engine and prompting his bailout over China. (Later he learned that a Soviet MiG pilot claimed he had downed Fischer’s Sabre; a Chinese officer also claimed that victory.) According to an Air Force fact sheet, on April 7, 1953, Fischer became the last of 15 USAF airmen that would be held in China instead of North Korea. Fischer and three other F-86 pilots were held as political prisoners for two years after the armistice, until June 1955. Among his military awards, Fischer received the Distinguished Service Cross for a Feb. 16, 1953, mission in which he attacked a formation of 16 MiG-15s, downing the lead MiG and, although under fire himself, attacked another MiG firing upon his wingman. He also flew helicopters during the Vietnam War and served as an intelligence officer and commander of the Air Force Human Resources Lab in Texas. He retired in 1978. (A 2007 interview with Military History magazine; undated article on acepilots.com; Fischer flight jacket photo release at National Museum of US Air Force; obituary)