After serving in the U.S. Navy and Air Force for decades, in three different wars, Lt. Dick Frailey earned his nickname “Fearless Frailey.”
But the decorated pilot fears history is repeating itself in North Korea.
“In this case, it’s kind of grim,” said Frailey.
He believes there will be another Korean War and he says North Korean President Kim Jong-un will be to blame.
“I don’t think the man in Korea knows what he’s doing,” Frailey.
Frailey served in the Pacific with the Navy in the closing months of World War II. He became an Air Force pilot after getting into R.O.T.C. while in college at Utah State.
He flew more than 60 successful missions over North Korea in 1952 and 1953, before being shot down in June of 1953.
He didn’t want to eject because he feared he’d ruin his brand new Canon camera. Then a voice of reason came over his headset. It was a nearby fellow-American pilot.
“He said a four-letter word and 'I’ll buy you a new one (camera), get the hell out.’”
Frailey ejected and parachuted into the Yalu River, between North Korea and China.
After about ten minutes in the water, he was rescued by an American amphibious plane that happened to be in the area.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” said Frailey.
He later learned he had been shot down by another American pilot.
Frailey, who said it was tough to see while flying in dogfights, never blamed the pilot.
He was only slightly injured and kept flying with the Air Force aboard B-52 during missions during the Cold War and over Vietnam.
Frailey hopes Americans don’t have to return to fight in Korea and said the best chance to avoid war is if someone gives President Kim Jong-un good advice.
“He’s got a lot of advisors who may tell him he’ll go down in history as the man who poked the eye… of the United States,” said Frailey.
Frailey is one of 13 Washington residents impacted by the Korean War honored in an exhibit at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia and online.
Related links: Legacy Washington Exhibit