CONCORD (CBS) — A 92-year-old Korean War hero and Medal of Honor recipient got a birthday surprise from the U.S. Navy Wednesday.

Fifty Navy Chief Petty Officers arrived in Concord around noon Wednesday after travelling from the USS Constitution in Charlestown to honor Captain Thomas Hudner.

The officers marched down Allen Farm Lane in Concord, where Captain Hudner lives, and met the veteran outside of his home.

There, they sang the Navy Hymn and Happy Birthday as members of his family looked on.

“He’s a national treasure, one that should be recognized,” one of the officers told WBZ-TV.

During the Korean War, in 1950, Captain Hudner’s wingman, Jesse Brown–the Navy’s first black carrier pilot–was shot down during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Hudner intentionally crashed his own plane to try to save his friend, an action that led to his being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“He gave his life for an African-American, for another sailor,” CPO Select Tennay Davis said. “It’s amazing and I’m honored to have met him, extremely honored.”

The officers also presented him with a piece of the USS Constitution.

The visit was arranged by the group Massachusetts Fallen Heroes.

Hudner stood up from his seat in the front yard and saluted the officers, and shook hands with each of the officers–a humble hero looking at the face of the new Navy.

His son, Thomas Hudner III, said his father is overwhelmed by the show of support.

“It’s so meaningful,” he said. “He would be the last person to ask for something like this, or any other similar type of recognition. It’s completely humbling and moving, and a huge honor that people would make this effort to come out to greet him like this.”

Captain Thomas Hudner blows out the candles on his birthday cake Wednesday. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Captain Thomas Hudner blows out the candles on his birthday cake Wednesday. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

The Navy will dedicate a new missile destroyer named after Captain Hudner in 2018.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Comments (8)
  1. D Karwowski says:

    God bless you, Mr. Hudner

  2. Kate says:

    Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day Capt. Hudner!. My Dad was a Quartermaster in WW2, and even at the end of a 12 yr. fight with Alzheimer’s he would sit up straight in a chair and proudly say he was a Navy veteran (and retired Capt. of NYPD). We were fortunate at his service to have the Navy Hymn played while I read the lyrics. May your days be happy and healthy, and surrounded by family and friends. Thank you for your service.

  3. Susan says:

    Well deserved, sir.

  4. John Senior Chief Petty Officer, Retired. says:

    The journalist who wrote this article should learn something about navy rates and ratings before they write another article. Then they might that these people are Chiefs not officers, and would be offended by being called officers.
    COL selectee Tannay Davis could stand some further training too understand that a living person did not “give their life” for anyone.

  5. ilovevictoriasbows says:

    Does #BLM know that this happened almost 70 years ago during the Korean War. Can Black History majors even find Korea on a map? How about Asia?

  6. Noel Johnston says:

    Bless you Captain. You are one hell of a man.