Gen. Wang Hai: First-class Combat Hero of PLA Air Force

China Military Online
Chen Lufan
2020-10-23 15:25:51

General Wang Hai, former commander of the PLA Air Force, was enrolled by the PLA Air Force’s first aviation school in 1946 at the age of 20 and became one of the first pilot cadets of the school. He is one of the five First-Class Combat Heroes in the air force of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV).

In October 1950, when the CPV troops crossed the Yalu Riverand pressed ahead to the battlefield of resisting the US aggressors and aiding Korea, the 24-year-old Wang Hai had graduated from the aviation school and served in the PLA Air Force as a fighter jet pilot. In April 1951, the aviation division in which Wang Hai was leader of a fighter group joined the CPV air force. Wang Hai and his fellow pilots fought face-to-face with the U.S. air force ace flight groups known as the best in the world then. As Wang Hai recalled in his late years, most of the Chinese pilots had only flown jet aircraft for 20 or 30 hours and had little air battle experience at that time.

On the afternoon of November 18, 1951, Wang Hai’s regiment was ordered to take off and intercept enemy planes. When their fleet had broken the formation of American bombers and was about to shoot down them one by one, Wang Hai suddenly detected more than 60 American F-84 fighter jets at a low altitude on the front left. Despite the massive force gap between the two sides, Wang Hai calmly waited for an opportunity and ordered the six fighters in his squadron to follow him and dash down from the elevation of 6,000m to 1,500m, thus disrupting the formation of enemy planes.

However, the American pilots, who had rich combat experience, quickly changed their position to form a head-to-tail circle with their planes. Facing opponents much more experienced than them, Wang Hai and his fellow pilots held their ground with exceptional courage and flying skills. They constantly soared up and dashed down, and the six planes were like six silver arrows working together as a gigantic hammer pounding at the impregnable fortress of American aircraft. Within merely 10 minutes, Wang Hai shot down two American planes and his group shot down five in total without any casualty on their own side.

During the war, Wang Hai hit down 9 enemy planes and was granted Special-class Merit Citation and First-class Merit Citation. His flight group was also granted a collective First-class Merit Citation for shooting down 29 enemy planes in total and was honored as “Wang Hai Flight Group”.

The No.97 fighter with nine red stars painted on it that he piloted is collected at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution.


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