NAMPA - Imagine going to war and being shot down twice while on a mission. That's what happened to a local Korean War veteran.
Jack Mulinix, 83, said he has easily spent thousands of hours in the air.
"It's in my blood. I love to fly. I wish I could flap my arms and fly, but I can't,” he said.
He’s a pilot and also worked for Boeing as a mechanic.
"I've had a fantastic, I feel, career in aviation. I loved every minute of it,” he said. “And there's some bad times."
Like the Korean War. Mulinix was drafted for the Army in January of 1953. Originally, he was supposed to be a machine gunner in the infantry, but when he got to his assignment that all changed.
“Their aviation section had been hit and pretty well wiped out,” he said.
As an experienced pilot and mechanic, they put in him in the air.
"I flew 82 missions into North Korea,” he said. "We got shot down twice."
The first time ending up in a rice paddy, the second in a river.
"Those dirty sons of guns, they got me,” he said. "I can't say I wasn't afraid. I was, but I didn't panic. I knew when I hit the ground I'd probably have to come out fighting. And I didn't which was fortunate."
Then there was the time he was taking off from the Army base in Seoul, when a grenade blew up his plane during takeoff.
"I never latched my door. I closed it, but I didn't lock it. And when it blew up, it blew me out of the airplane,” Mulinix said.
He landed on his feet, but was badly burned.
"That ended my military flying. They sent me home shortly after that."
Going home wasn’t easy either.
"I don't think there's a day goes by that I don't think of something in that. Not all good, some bad. The bad stuff really sticks with you,” he said. "It's something I would not wish it on anyone to go through combat, but once you have you're never the same again."
Never the same, but he believes he survived war and was able to carry on after because of his wife, family and his faith.
“A lot of prayer,” he said. “I had a lot of people praying for me, and you know, that's just it.”
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