Charles Loring, one of four airmen to receive the Medal of Honor for combat in Korea, attended high school in his hometown, where he enlisted March 16, 1942. In May he became an aviation cadet, training at Douglas Field, Calif.; Greenville, Miss. and Napier Field, Ala. He was commissioned as a pilot in December 1942.
Loring served at Maxwell Field, Ala.; Puerto Rico; and Charleston, S.C., before going to Europe in March 1944, with the 36th Fighter Group's 22nd Squadron. He began the first of 55 combat missions and was promoted to first lieutenant that June.
On Dec. 24, 1944, his plane was hit on a strafing mission and went down over Belgium. He was taken prisoner until war's end and returned to the United States in June 1945. He was promoted to captain in October He held staff assignments at Victoria and Foster Fields, Texas. Between 1946 and 1949, he attended the following schools: Army Exchange at Fort Oglethorpe, Calif.; Adjutant General's and Army Information, at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.; and Air Tactical at Tyndall AFB, Fla. He taught at the Information School for two years and in May 1952, went to Korea with the 8th Fighter Bomber Group.
Loring helped train replacement jet pilots and served as pilot and squadron operations officer for the 36th and 80th Squadrons. He also flew combat missions and was killed in action Nov. 22, 1952, while leading a flight of four F-80 jets on a close support mission near Sniper Ridge in North Korea. The mission was to dive-bomb enemy gun positions which were harassing friendly ground troops. Loring's plane was hit by ground fire as he verified the gun positions and rolled into his dive-bomb run. Hit again and again as he pressed the attack, he deliberately altered his course and aimed his diving aircraft at the active gun emplacements
The Medal of Honor reads, in part: "...With infinite personal courage and daring, Maj. Loring elected this sacrifice turning approximately 45 degrees to the left and pulling up slightly in a deliberate, controlled maneuver which carried his aircraft directly into the midst of the gun emplacements, destroying them completely. Maj. Loring's superlative gallantry and valor far beyond the normal call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflected .great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force."
Charles Loring had been promoted to major only two months before his death. Besides the nation's highest award, he also earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and 12 Air Medals in combat in two wars.
See the full citation from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.
For additional information see the National Museum of the USAF website.