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Baited Trap (Soft Bound)

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The Ambush of Mission 1890

by Tracy D. Connors, Ph.D., CAPT USN (Ret)

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.

Never before has a formerly classified combat mission been so carefully dissected and examined from the standpoint of those who flew the mission, starting with their complete life stories and those of the women they loved.  Several hundred photographs from personal scrapbooks and official records, never before published, illustrate the people and their lives with unique imagery.

Baited Trap illustrates and shares through the photographs and words of those who lived it the human costs of any military mission that results in death or injury—a cost that the affected families continue to bear to this day.  The mission itself is hair-raising, the result devastating, yet from the ashes of the lives given so valiantly comes a compelling love story that offers hope for us all.

Baited Trap, The Ambush of Mission 1890 tells the story for the first time of perhaps the most dangerous Korean War helicopter rescue mission in compelling detail gleaned from formerly classified official records, first person accounts, and family documents long unknown.

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.

The Korean War’s Greatest Love Story
Baited Trap is much more than a heroic war story from the “forgotten war.” It is also the Korean War’s greatest love story, following Wayne and Della Lear, Bobby Holloway, Ron Eaton and Dolly Sharp, and Frankie and Archie Connors as they tried to put their lives and families together even as the Korean War was reaching out to engulf them.

Kris Barnett (Book Review, Graybeard Magazine, Korean War Veterans Association) pointed out, “The reader may easily forget that the events depicted are not fictional. Furthermore, the men involved in the mission were never officially recognized for their sacrifices as part of Mission 1890. However, this book finally tells a story that has not been told but should have been.”

“After detailing the mission, Connors describes its aftermath. At the time, the whereabouts of the servicemen involved in the initial crash as well as the rescue mission were unknown. With credible information, the families clung to hope that their loved ones were alive as prisoners of war. Each man was listed as Missing in Action, leaving the families in heartbreaking limbo.”

“A remarkable amount of correspondence between the families and military officials is presented in the book, capturing the frustration and uncertainty. As the men’s lives did, the families begin to intertwine as they connect with one another in the years that follow the mission. Sadly, one by one, the belongings of the men make their way back to their families, as do some of their remains. Nonetheless, the returned belongings and remains are not enough to provide closure for many family members.”

Connors includes final thoughts in his concluding section: “Slowly, as one set of hopes died, others would begin to grow, as Baited Trap recounts. Lives, however battered and broken, could be put back together again. All of them tried…not all were successful. The eventual toll for Mission 1890 was much greater than the three servicemen, as it turned out.” (Kris Barnett, Book Review, Graybeard Magazine, Korean War Veterans Association)

Pages: 393 (Softbound), ePUB pages vary depending on reading device.  Extensively illustrated with official and family album photographs.

ISBN 13: 978-0-9640138-3-4

Digitally watermarked, DRM-free

included format: Softbound

 

Description

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.

Never before has a formerly classified combat mission been so carefully dissected and examined from the standpoint of those who flew the mission, starting with their complete life stories and those of the women they loved.  Several hundred photographs from personal scrapbooks and official records, never before published, illustrate the people and their lives with unique imagery.

Baited Trap illustrates and shares through the photographs and words of those who lived it the human costs of any military mission that results in death or injury—a cost that the affected families continue to bear to this day.  The mission itself is hair-raising, the result devastating, yet from the ashes of the lives given so valiantly comes a compelling love story that offers hope for us all.

What Happened:  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.

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.”

After receiving their “I regret to inform you…” telegrams from the Air Force and Navy, 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.

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Additional information

Book Type

Paperback, eBook