Combat hero Han Decai passes away

China Military Online
Lin Congyi
2024-04-05 22:10:14

On April 1, 2024, Han Decai, deputy commander of the air force of the Nanjing Military Area Command under the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Second-Class Combat Hero of the PLA Air Force, passes away at the age of 91.

Han Decai was born in Fengyang County, Anhui Province in June 1933. He enlisted in March 1949 and joined the Communist Party of China in March 1953. During the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, he shot down five enemy airplanes, earning himself First-Class and Third-Class Merit Citation twice respectively. The combat experience that he shot down an F-86 aircraft piloted by the US Air Force "Double Ace" pilot Harold E. Fischer qualitied him as the Second-Class Combat Hero of the PLA Air Force. The Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea awarded him the First Class Order of the National Flag, the Second Class Order of Freedom and Independence, and the Military Merit Medal.

On the afternoon of April 7, 1953, after providing cover for a group of aircraft to land safely, Han Decai and his leader aircraft piloted by Zhang Niuke were ambushed by the enemy. Zhang's plane was hit and entangled by Fischer, a "Double Ace" pilot of the US Air Force. At this critical moment, Han Decai pulled up his aircraft, and charged toward the enemy plane to protect his partner.

Fischer suddenly glided downwards with right turn to induce Han Decai into following him, intending to exploit the superior maneuverability of the F-86 to swiftly turn and escape. Han Decai immediately saw through the enemy's ruse. As the enemy plane sought an opportunity to flee, Han Decai immediately executed a diving interception. Finally, at a distance of 300 meters from the enemy's plane, Han Decai opened fire fiercely, hitting the enemy plane squarely between the left wing and tail. Fischer parachuted and was captured by the Chinese People's Volunteers Army.

Years later, recalling the situation at that time, Han Decai still couldn't suppress his excitement. "At that time, all I was thinking was to shoot down the enemy. What was even more thrilling was that the fuel was running out. I wouldn't be able to land if the aerial combat took me ten more seconds. But a good soldier shall not fear death," said Han Decai.

In his later life, Han Decai was deeply concerned about the education cause in his hometown. He not only donated money to the building of Hope Primary Schools but also frequently lectured on national defense education in schools and military units.

"The PLA Air Force was tempered in the flames of war and became mature in battle. Back then, the young PLA Air Force fought for peace with undaunted spirit. PLA Air Force troops must remain committed to their original aspiration and mission, carry forward glorious traditions, strengthen their ability to win battles and guard sky for China," Han Decai once said.

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