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Staff Sergeant Nyle Mickley

First Enlisted Aerial Victory of the Korean War

On June 29, 1950, the US Air Force crossed the 38th parallel into communist territory for the first time during the Korean War. The objective: destroy the enemy’s primary airfield at Pyongyang.

Eighteen B-26 Invader aircraft from the 3rd Bombardment Group (Light) entered enemy air space just before dusk. They dropped fragmentation bombs on the Pyongyang airfield’s runway and hangars, damaging twenty-five aircraft. The North Koreans only launched one aircraft, a Yakovlev Yak-3 Soviet-built fighter.

Staff Sergeant Nyle Mickley, a gunner aboard one of the B-26 light bombers, shot down the Yak-3, becoming the first enlisted person to score an aerial victory during the Korean War. The mission not only marked the USAF’s first offensive assault against the North Koreans, but highlights the importance of enlisted gunners during combat operations.

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