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North Korea Honors Pilot Who Shot Down U.S. Chopper

January 27, 1995

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A North Korean sergeant who shot down a U.S. Army helicopter in December was honored as a ``hero of the Republic″ today and promoted to lieutenant, the North’s news agency reported.

The OH-58C helicopter was shot down Dec. 17 after crossing the heavily guarded border with South Korea. Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon was killed, and fellow pilot Bobby Hall was held for 13 days before being released.

Sgt. Ri Thae Gyu downed the helicopter ``at one shot,″ demonstrating the strength of the people’s army, KCNA said.

Hall returned to South Korea today to rejoin his unit at Camp Page, north of Seoul.

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