Navy Unit Citation | National Defense Medal | Vietnam Service Medal  

Bomb from a landing Corsair explodes on the flight deck of the carrier Oriskany

"On the 6th of March, 1953, the "props" turned to bombing depots, trenches and bunkers south of Wonsan and near Hamsong. In the middle of these strikes one F4U piloted by Lt. Edwin L. Kummer, VF-124, developed engine trouble shortly after take off. Aborting the mission, Kummer tried but was unable to jettison all his ordnance, as one 250-pound bomb "hung-up" on the bomb rack. Hung ordnance was an infrequent but not unusual problem at that time and Kummer was given permission to land. Unfortunately, as his Corsair hit the deck, the general purpose bomb broke loose, bounced up the flight deck and exploded over the No. 3 elevator, killing two sailors and wounding fourteen others.
One of the men killed was Photographer Airman Thomas L. McGraw, killed while filming landing operations, while the other was Aviation Electrician Airman Thomas M. Yeager, who died working on a tied down Panther. The explosion riddled the hangar deck below with shrapnel, piercing many of the parked aircraft and flooding the hangar bay with gasoline. Firefighting teams quickly extinguished the fire and isolated the hangar deck, preventing the fire from spreading into the ship. At the same time, Airman Richard D. Donovan - then serving as "hotsuit man" - ran through the flames, cut the unconscious pilot from his harness and pulled him to safety. Damage repair crews put the aircraft carrier back in business within hours and Oriskany began launching airstrikes again on 8 March, targeting railroad tracks, bridges and facilities."

From:  The history of the USS Oriskany found on the "Artifacts" page