Baited Trap, The Ambush of Mission 1890 is the story of helicopter rescue Mission 1890, one of the most heroic—and costly—air rescues of the Korean War. This harrowing Air Force-Navy mission is explained in compelling detail, creating a detailed personal account of what five incredibly brave and determined Air Force and Navy airmen achieved on June 25, 1952 in the infamous “Iron Triangle.”
On the second anniversary of the start of the Korean War, four U.S. airmen team up to grab a downed Navy pilot off the side of a mountain that was heavily defended by Chinese Communist troops. Under withering ground fire, Captain Wayne Lear made three hovering approaches in the lumbering H-5 “Dragonfly” rescue helicopter to the spot where Ensign Ron Eaton had flashed them with his survival mirror. Each time the helicopter took hits. Both Lear and his medical technician, SSgt. Bobby Holloway, were wounded.
Overhead, Captain Elliot Ayer, How Flight Leader, his wingman, 1st Lt. Archie Connors, and other Mustang pilots from the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing provided covering fire, repeatedly attacking the ground batteries.
Finally, after the third attempt under heavy fire, with Eaton on board, Lear nursed the badly damaged helicopter down the valley towards the safety of UN lines that were almost within sight. Seconds later, a lucky hit in the rotor changed the rescue into one of the most deadly missions of the Korean War.
The families of the missing airmen entered the surreal, wrenching, bureaucratic world of the Missing In Action. A final section relates the poignant stories of what the families of Mission 1890 went through after it was quiet on the mountain. How they coped with their losses will inspire others.
Captain Tracy D. Connors (USN, Retired), is the author of Truckbusters From Dogpatch, the Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Korean War, 1950-1953, and numerous management handbooks.
Graybeard Magazine, flagship publication of the Korean War Veterans Association called Truckbusters “A masterful job...enjoyable to read...does not pull his punches...sobering moments...runs the gamut of the Wing’s experience in Korea...stories are revealing for folks who may not have been aware of what was going on in Korea...some stories paint graphic pictures of combat that may not be palatable to squeamish readers...it is about war, after all...includes the humor and pathos of every day events...When looking for a thorough, education history of the air war in Korea,” readers “cannot do any better.”
Captain Connors is also the author of over 15 management handbooks for nonprofit organizations. Since publication of the Nonprofit Organization Handbook by McGraw-Hill in 1979 to the present, the largest and most comprehensive management handbooks in print for nonprofit organizations have been those he published.
A seventh generation Floridian, Tracy D. Connors attended Jacksonville University, University of Florida (BA) and the University of Rhode Island (MA). He has gained over 40 years total experience in a variety of increasingly responsible positions in business, government and philanthropic organizations. Senior management experience in major public and private-sector organizations and programs includes: public and Congressional affairs, business information services, management of nonprofit organizations, management of advanced technology development or application programs; new business area development; and, development of on-line publishing and communication programs. His military experience included highly responsible positions for the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and six Echelon I and II Navy commands in the National Capital Region prior to his Navy retirement.