ABRAHAM A. DASH
Lieutenant | United States Air Force
"As a reward for his very great and glorious deeds, he is authorized to attack anything, anywhere, anytime during the time of darkness." So said the satirical award document presented to the Lieutenant for achieving the required number of night missions with the "Black Knights" of the 452d Bombardment Group. For months, Dash flew over North Korea only at night dive-bombing roads and railways.
On his fifty-first flight - just four away from completing a tour - he was shot down over enemy territory. Thinking only of the survival of his crew, he wrestled his B-26 towards the inky waters of Wonson Bay and violently splashed down. Had he aimed towards landfall he felt the North Koreans or Chinese would no doubt have taken every man onboard prisoner - a fate assumed to be worse than death. It was April and the waters were still shockingly cold as they gurgled into the fuselage. Abe panicked that none of his crew members were present or responsive. He was completely alone in foreign waters and only his determination to survive overshadowed overwhelming fear and isolation.
A distant Navy ship had seen Dash's B-26 plummeting from the sky and steamed towards the crash sight. Abe was indeed the only survivor and though cherishing his fortune, he felt immense guilt for the deaths of the rest of crew. He could not shake this for the rest of his life and buried it along with most of his wartime experiences to instead focus on his career in law and education. He practiced with great distinction and above all generously gave the greatest gift of knowledge to all of his pupils. It was his passion and focus and very rarely did he mention his experiences in the night skies above Korea - perhaps because of his humility or perhaps to avoid reliving any unpleasantries.
Dash, top left, with his crew (clockwise): Navigator/Bombardier Lt. Hammot; Shoran Operator Lt. Paul Fine; Gunner and engineer Sgt. Penney