On Feb. 19, 1953, flying low on a bombing run far above the 38th parallel, Williams' F-9 Panther was hit by small arms fire and started leaking hydraulic fluid. With his plane shaking badly (he didn't know it was also on fire), his control panel lit up with warning lights, and his radio dead, Williams followed a fellow pilot back to base, flying without hydraulics and wrestling his stick all the way.
Approaching the landing field, an on-board explosion blew off one of the wheel doors and Williams was forced to land his crippled jet at 225 miles-an-hour and on one wheel. When the F-9 finally came to a stop at the end of the runway after skidding over 2,000 feet, Williams walked away from the burning wreck as firemen hosed it down with foam. Fortunate but enraged, he reacted to nearly auguring in as if he had just popped out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth -- he yanked off his helmet and slammed it to the ground.