No Kum-sok (No Kum So, Kenneth H. Rowe)
North Korean MiG-15 Pilot
No Kum-sok 노금석 (No Kum So) was born January 10, 1932 in Sinhung County, South Hamgyŏng Province in North Korea. Born during the Japanese colonial era. he was required to adopt a Japanese name "Okamura Kyoshi".
During the Korean War, he joined the Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) with the rank of Lieutenant and was a fighter pilot flying the Mikoyan–Gurevich MiG-15.
On September 21, 1953 took off piloting MiG-15bis 2015357 and defected across the border and landed at Kimpo Air Base (K-14). His intact aircraft was transported to the United States for technical evaluation. Afterwards, he did a press conference in Seoul and was granted political asylum in the United States.
On April 27, 1954 Sok was give a check for $100,000 USD as a reward for defecting with his intact aircraft. He changed his name to "Kenneth H. Rowe". In May 1954 he met U. S. Vice Preisdent Richard Nixon on a visit arranged by U. S. Representative Joseph F. Holt. In 1957 he enrolled in the University of Delaware studying engineering and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1962. He was joined by his mother and later married. He worked as an aviation engineer for Grumman, Boeing, Pan Am, General Dynamics, General Motors, General Electric, Lockheed, DuPont, and Westinghouse before retiring to Florida.
Photos of No Kum So / Kenneth H. Rowe via AWM/USAF September 21, 1953
A MiG-15 to Freedom: Memoir of the Wartime North Korean Defector Who First Delivered the Secret Fighter Jet to the Americans in 1953 by No Kum-Sok
The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom by Blaine Harden
Do you have photos or additional information to add?