John C. Shumate

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John C. Shumate (1918–1992) was an Army Medical Services Corps pharmacist who transferred to the United States Air Force and joined the fledgling Air Rescue Services, becoming commandant of the Pararescue and Survival School at MacDill AFB, Florida in 1949. He was an early hero of the new Air Force Pararescue community, earning a Silver Star in the Korean War. Captain Shumate was also awarded the British Military Cross for his actions. He retired from the Air Force as a full colonel in 1969.

Silver Star Citation[edit]

On December 16, 1950, Capt. Shumate was awarded the Silver Star with the following citation:

Captain John C. Shumate, United States Air Force, distinguished himself by gallantry in action against the enemy on 10 October 1950, by rescueing an injured British fighter pilot from his downed aircraft, deep in enemy territory north of Seoul, Korea. Captain Shumate, in the capacity of para-doctor as part of a helicopter team, left the helicopter upon landing near the crashed aircraft, and rushed to the aid of the pilot. Enemy forces from a nearby farm house opened fire with small arms in an attempt to prevent any aid by Captain Shumate. At the risk of his life, Captain Shumate leaped to the wing of the aircraft and attempted to lift the pilot out of the cockpit. The pilot, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to help, was pinned to the wreckage by his flying suit. Still under enemy small arms fire, Captain Shumate lifted and held the pilot with one arm and with his free hand cut away the pilot's flight suit, freeing the pilot. Practically exhausted, Captain Shumate managed to carry and drag the pilot to safety from the small arms fire. Assisted by the helicopter pilot, the injured British fighter pilot was placed aboard the helicopter and flown to a hospital. The gallantry under enemy fire and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Shumate on this occasion are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.