It was my distinct privilege to honor one of the greatest fighter pilot ever recorded in military history and a true Hero -- Captain E. Royce Williams, during our Board of Supervisors meeting.
In the annals of the United States Navy's storied history, few tales of heroism and bravery can match the incredible feat of Lieutenant E. Royce Williams, a pilot with Fighter Squadron 781 who served on the USS Oriskany during the Korean War.
On November 18, 1952, LT. Williams participated in a major strike against an industrial complex near the North Korea-Russian border. Later that day, he led a four-plane F9F-5 "Panther" Combat Air Patrol to defend the Carrier Task Force 77.
Encountering seven superior Russian MiG-15s, the other three Panthers had to return due to complications. But Williams, undaunted, unhesitatingly and with no regard for personal safety or risk of life, engaged the enemy in what is now described as the longest dogfight in the history of the US Navy.
For nearly 40 minutes, Williams' superb pilot skills and gunnery accounted for six MiGs downed, effectively stopping the attack against the USS Oriskany in its tracks. In recognition of his heroic actions, he was awarded "Ace in a Day" for shooting down five or more enemy MiG-15s, an honor received by only a handful of pilots.
Today, the Board of Supervisors declared it, "Captain E. Royce Williams Day” throughout San Diego County.