Hank McCutcheon
Fictional Character
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 20th century
Date of Death: 1951
Cause of Death: Bullet to face during aerial combat
Occupation: Pilot
Military Branch: United States Air Force (Korean War, World War III)

Hank McCutcheon (d. May 1951) was a B-29 pilot during the Korean War before and after it became part of World War III. McCutcheon flew out of a U.S. Air Force base near Pusan, South Korea,[1] His co-pilot was Bill Staley.

McCutcheon's bomber was part of the U.S. atomic attack in Manchuria that escalated the conflict to the global scale.[2] His plane dropped an atomic bomb on Harbin on the night of January 23, 1951.[3]

This attack set off a chain reaction of tit-for-tat bombing between with the U.S. and the Soviet Union, which led to the Soviets invading West Germany on February 17, 1951. On March 2, 1951, the Soviets launched a daring raid against the western United States.[4] McCutcheon and his crew were part of an attack on the town of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula, part of a series of attacks in the Russian East.[5]

In mid-April, McCutcheon and his plane were part of a massive bombing raid against Pyongyang, in an effort to kill Kim Il-sung. The attack used conventional explosives, rather than atomic weapons.[6] While McCutcheon and his crew were able to survive the attack and drop their payload, they did so earlier than ordered when flack pierced the plane's outside. Upon approaching their home base, they learned it was under attack, and they were forced to divert to Japan.[7]

The crew stayed at an airfield near Fukuoka for a time.[8] McCuthcheon realized that Staley was unnerved by how close they'd come to dying over Pyongyang. McCutcheon offered to allow Staley to sit out a few missions, but Staley refused, promising to keep flying.[9]

This decision proved fatal. In May, McCutcheon and his crew were assigned to participate in the atomic bombing of the Soviet city of Blagoveshchensk.[10] Unfortunately, their plane was met by Soviet planes. McCutcheon was hit in the face by a shell and killed instantly. The plane caught fire and crashed in short order.[11]


  1. Bombs Away, pg. 22, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 50-52.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 53-54.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 151-155.
  5. Ibid., pg. 165.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 283-287.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 286-287.
  8. Ibib., pg. 321.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 321-324.
  10. Ibid., pg. 375.
  11. Ibid., pg. 376.