Profiles in Valor: U.S. Army Air Forces Col. (ret) Walker ‘Bud’ Mahurin

We at The Patriot Post frequently honor America’s heroes. Accordingly, we mark the passage of retired Colonel Walker “Bud” Mahurin with both thankfulness and mourning. Col. Mahurin, a fighter pilot who shot down more than two dozen planes in two wars and three theaters, died last week. Bud was 91. The first American pilot to become a double ace in the European Theater, and the only ace to shoot down enemy planes in both European and Pacific Theaters as well as the Korean War, Col. Mahurin was unique among U.S. combat aviators.

Bud joined the Army Air Forces in September 1941 — just three months prior to Pearl Harbor — fully anticipating the conflict America faced. Having downed enemy aircraft in every plane he flew — the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre — today Bud is revered by America’s fighter community as one of its all-time top aces. His unrivaled dedication, perseverance and integrity earned him the call sign “Honest John.”

Twice shot down in World War II and once during the Korean War, Bud’s 16-month captivity and torture during the latter especially tested his call sign, but he would nonetheless live up to it. Subjected to extensive physical and psychological torture by North Korean communists (read: Red Chinese), Col. Mahurin was coerced into signing a “confession” that was so wrought with falsehoods that even a Democrat would at once recognize it as bogus. Bud’s brutal P.O.W. experiences, however, would shape future generations of fighter aviators through incorporation of Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape (SERE) training. That training would later prove invaluable to downed aviators in Vietnam.

Of course, we can never repay Col. Mahurin for his selfless service and heroism. We can and should, however, honor heroes like him by pausing to remember him and by simply saying, “Thank you, Col. Mahurin. Your nation owes you a debt we can never repay — well done.”


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3 Responses to “Profiles in Valor: U.S. Army Air Forces Col. (ret) Walker ‘Bud’ Mahurin”

  1. mainenowandthen Says:

    Salute rendered!


  2. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Thank you for that Maine!


  3. PanAm Says:

    Truly a job well done by him and certainly time well spent commemorating him…


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