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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

Col. John McKone, U.S.A.F. (Ret.)

Colonel John McKone, U.S.A.F. (Ret.) (1932-2013) was a United States Air Force officer. In 1960, McKone’s plane was shot down over international waters by a Soviet jet fighter. McKone safely parachuted into the water, but four of his crewmembers were killed. McKone was found by a Soviet fishing boat and sent to Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, where he faced harsh conditions and constant interrogation. Despite his situation, McKone never gave in to Soviet demands for sensitive information. After seven months, the U.S. and USSR reached a deal for his release. McKone returned to the Air Force, receiving two Legions of Merit and the Silver Star for his service. In 2000, Colonel McKone was awarded the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.