Korean War pilot who landed blind dies at 83

A jeep of the United Nations forces with

AFP/Getty Images

File: A jeep of the United Nations forces withdrawing from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, recrosses the 38th parallel in December 1950. The Korean War between armies from North Korea and from South Korea lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

Kenneth Schechter, a Korean War pilot who landed his plane while blinded from a wound, has died. He was 83.

His son, Rob Schechter, tells the Los Angeles Times that Schechter died Dec. 11 in Fairfield, Calif. He had prostate cancer.

Schechter was a 22-year-old Navy pilot when a shell sent fragments into his eyes and blood running down his face during a 1952 mission.

Temporarily blinded, Schechter was talked down by a friend and fellow pilot, Howard Thayer. After 45 minutes, he made a safe belly-landing on a remote Army dirt strip.

Schechter permanently lost the use of his right eye. He left the Navy months after the flight and later became an insurance agent in the Los Angeles area.

In 1995, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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