Defense Minister-designate Kim Kwan-jin expressed firm resolve to take a strong retaliatory action, including air strike, in the event of another North Korean military provocation during his parliamentary confirmation hearing Friday…Noting that South Korea is in the most serious crisis situation since the 1950-53 Korean War, Kim said that he will set up an operational plan to bolster military capabilities to protect the five border islands in the West Sea…Immediately after the artillery attack, the military sent some 400,000 anti-North leaflets to the North in a reversal of its cautious stance. The military had been cautious about fully resuming the psychological warfare as it could seriously provoke the reclusive state.—Kim warns air strike on North Korea, The Korea Herald
So it has come to this. For the first time in 60 years, the specter of air war is a reality over the Land of the Morning Calm. This is highly significant; it is the first time in almost six decades that South Korea has put the option of air strikes back on the table. The first time this century.
Shelling civilians, hidden under water nuke factories, NoKo tunnels under the DMZ, and the South Korean decision to stage air raids on any further NoKo provocations—at long last—certainly makes for exciting times. The promise of air strikes opens the possibility of a repeat of history: the first known jet vs. jet air battles that occurred 60 years ago and came to be known famously as MiG Alley.
Of course, back then the NoKo MiG-15 used during the active phases of the still-going Korean War were piloted by Russian pilots, who went to tremendous efforts to pretend to be Korean.
The USSR masquerade clearly did not work. Our soldiers often laughed camp-side about the 6ft tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Koreans, and eventually even the Ruskies gave up on the charade, USSR claims that they were not in Korea be damned.
USAF pilots had great respect for the MiG’s superior maneuverability. They loved the instant response of the wire-controlled MiG over the slower electronic responses of our F-86 Sabre, and that combined with its swept-wing design made it any pilot’s dream.
The MiG is a plane not to be underestimated, ridiculed, or discounted. I’m sure ROKAF knows that well.
Our pilots had an advantage then, and ROKAF has it now, that you will never find in Communist nations: thinking for themselves, using imagination, creating new maneuvers, and utilizing that ingenuity only free nations know. The desperate cover-ups and lies of the Soviets led to the Russian pilots not being allowed to pursue the Sabre into the Yellow Sea or any area considered American or South Korean territory. Their hands were tied by leaders who punished them if they got it wrong and punished them even more if they succeeded without permission. These are those from whom the NoKo’s learned to fly and whose Stalinist delusions they still follow.