Today's Famous Person
November 19 - No Kum-Sok - Pilot Today's Famous Person (bornJanuary 10, 1932) is a Korean American engineer and aviator who served as a senior lieutenant in the Korean People's Army Air and Anti-Air Force during the Korean War. Approximately two months after the end of hostilities, he defected to South Korea in a MiG 15 aircraft, and was subsequently granted political asylum in the United States.

He was born in Sinhung County, South Hamgyong Province, in then-Japanese occupied northern Korea. Under colonial rule, he was required to adopt a Japanese name - Okamura Kyoshi.

His father was a baseball player for a company's team. During World War II, our Famous Person supported Japan and considered becoming a kamikaze pilot, but his father was adamantly against it. His support for Imperial Japan waned and he became pro-American, though he had to hide his pro-Americanism due to the dangers of being recognized as being an admirer of the U.S. in northern Korea at the time.

In early 1948, as a teenage he attended a speech by Kim Il-sung. Though he was opposed to Communism, he found Kim to be a capable orator. However, he had to keep his anti-Communist views hidden, due to the danger of what would happen if North Korean authorities had found out about them.

During the Korean War, he applied to join the Korean People's Navy and was accepted after he lied in the selection test. At the naval academy, he won favor of his history professor who later helped him in the pilot selection test. After passing the selection test, he was promoted to ensign, and brought to Manchuria for flight training. He subsequently received promotion to the rank of lieutenant and then to senior lieutenant. He flew more than 100 combat missions during the war.

On the morning of September 21, 1953, he flew his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 from Sunan just outside Pyongyang to the Kimpo Air Base in South Korea. The time from take-off in North Korea to landing in South Korea was 17 minutes, with the MiG reaching 620 mph (1000 km/h). During the flight, he was not chased by North Korean planes (as he was too far away), nor was he interdicted by American air or ground forces; U.S. radar near Kimpo had been shut down temporarily that morning for routine maintenance.

He landed the wrong way on the runway, almost hitting an F-86 Sabre jet landing at the same time from the opposite direction. Captain Dave William veered out of the way and exclaimed over the radio "It's a [deleted] MiG!". Another American pilot, Captain Jim Sutton, who was circling the airport, said that if he had tried to land in the right direction, he would have been spotted and shot down. He taxied the MiG into a free parking spot between two Sabre jets, got out of the plane and began tearing up a picture of Kim Il-sung that was placed in the cockpits of North Korean aircraft, and then threw up his arms in surrender at approaching airbase security guards.

After being taken into custody and debriefed, he received a $100,000 (equivalent to $914,677 in 2017) reward offered by Operation Moolah for being the first pilot to defect with an operational aircraft, which he said he never heard of prior to his defection. He explained that North Korean pilots were not allowed to listen to South Korean radio, the leaflets broadcasting the award were not dropped in Manchuria where the pilots were based, and even if they had heard about the reward the amount of money would have been meaningless to the young Communists; he said the program would have been more effective if they had offered a good job and residence in North America.

There were repercussions for his defection. According to Captain Lee Un-yong, a Korean People's Army Air and Anti-Air Force flight instructor who defected to South Korea two years after him, General Wan-yong, the top commander of the Korean People's Army Air and Anti-Air Force, was demoted, and five of our Famous Person's air force comrades and commanders were executed. One of those killed was Lieutenant Kun Soo-sung, his best friend and fellow pilot. His father was already dead and his mother already defected to the South; however, he had an uncle and the fate of him and the rest of his family was never known.

After he surrendered his aircraft, it was taken to Okinawa, where it was given USAF markings and test-flown by Captain H.E. Collins and Major Chuck Yeager. The MiG-15 was later shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base after attempts to return it to North Korea were unsuccessful. It is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

In 1954, he emigrated to the United States and even met Richard Nixon. After immigrating, he anglicized his name to "Kenneth H. Rowe". He was joined in the U.S. by his mother, who had been evacuated from North Korea earlier in 1951. He subsequently graduated from the University of Delaware, with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. He married an émigré from Kaesong, North Korea, they raised two sons and a daughter, and he became a U.S. citizen. He worked as an aeronautical engineer for Grumman, Boeing, Pan Am, General Dynamics, General Motors, General Electric, Lockheed, DuPont, and Westinghouse.

In 1970, he learned from a fellow defector that, as punishment for his defection, his best friend, Lieutenant Kun Soo Sung, had been executed. He learned that four other pilots in his chain of command were also executed by firing squad.

In 1996, he wrote and published a book, A MiG-15 to Freedom, about his defection and previous life in North Korea. Rowe retired in 2000 after working 17 years as an aeronautical engineering professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Rowe speaks fluent English and currently lives in Daytona Beach, Florida. He stated that he does not regret his decision to defect from North Korea to South Korea. Hwang Jang-yop
Kim Shin-jo
No Kum-Sok
Shin Dong-hyuk

Today's Famous Person
November 20 - Ernie Bushmiller - Cartoonist Today's Famous Person (August 23, 1905 – August 15, 1982) was an American cartoonist, best known for creating the daily comic strip Nancy.

Born in the South Bronx, New York, he was the son of immigrant parents. His father was an artist, vaudevillian and bartender. He quit school at 14 to work as a copy boy at the New York World newspaper, while attending evening art classes at the National Academy of Design. He ran errands for the staff cartoonists and was given occasional illustration assignments, including a Sunday feature by Harry Houdini.

Early in 1925, cartoonist Larry Whittington, creator of the comic strip Fritzi Ritz, left to produce another strip, Mazie the Model. Our Famous Person then took over Fritzi Ritz, ghostwriting it, before eventually taking over officially. His name did not appear on the strip until May 1926. He expanded to a Sunday strip on October 6, 1929. He had already been producing a comic strip for the New York Evening Graphic titled Mac the Manager.

The character of Fritzi was modeled after Bhis fiance, Abby Bohnet, the daughter of a train conductor. The couple, who married July 9, 1930, had no children. In 1931, they headed for Hollywood, where he wrote gags for Harold Lloyd's Movie Crazy, continuing to draw Fritzi Ritz at the same time. A year later, they returned to the Bronx.

Nancy Carbonaro, a childhood friend, said the Nancy character was based on her. She said Phil Fumble of his Fritzi Ritz strip was actually today's Famous Person, and that after Nancy was added to the strip. She believed Sluggo was our Famous Person having the relationship he could not have in real life. She also said he used events from her life in the strip.

He introduced Nancy, Fritzi's niece, to the strip on January 2, 1933. The character proved popular, so she appeared more often. As Aunt Fritzi was seen less frequently, the strip was eventually re-titled Nancy in 1938. The popular strip was translated into various languages, including Italian, German, Swedish and Norwegian. Phil Fumble was his strip which ran from 1932 through 1938.

He started working each day about 2 pm, and he often sat at his drawing table well into the early morning hours of the next day. He usually began a strip with the last panel and then worked back toward the first panel. The simplicity of his style brought praise from Art Spiegelman and other artists.

In 1979, Today's Famous Person was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but he continued to produce the strip with the help of assistants Will Johnson and Al Plastino. He lived in Stamford, Connecticut, where he died in 1982. Ernie Bushmiller
Al Capp‎
Hy Eisman
Ham Fisher

Today's Famous Person
November 21 - Alfred Hitchcock - Director Alfred Hitchcock

Today's Famous Person
November 26 - Joseph Stilwell - General Joseph Stilwell

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November 27 - Nigel Richards - Scrabble Champion Nigel Richards

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November 28 - James Forten - Abolitionist James Forten

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November 29 - Frank C. Mars - Candy Maker Frank C. Mars

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November 30 - Lloyd Bridges - Actor Lloyd Bridges

Today's Famous Person

Today's Famous Person