OPERATION "CRIPPLE CHICK". Anti-aircraft guns belonging to communist North Korea and China shot down an increasing number of American aviators in the spring of 1952. The USS LST 799, a refashioned helicopter landing ship, saved 24 pilots from the Sea of Japan. American ground forces were on the retreat, losing precious territory for the past two years, their only viable answer was from the air. As a result, Allied pilots conducted bombing runs daily on critical supply routes of North Korean positions but had no safe bail-out options if their plane became disabled. The only two options at their disposal resulted in suffering, agony, or death: skip the plane into the enemy-controlled Bay of Wonsan and, if one survived, wait in frigid hypothermic waters until Navy destroyers came to their rescue or crash into North Korea-controlled territory and risk being captured. The cost of losing any teammate weighed heavily on all, and on 6 June 1952, Operation “Crippled Chick” tasked Seabees with creating an emergency landing strip on the small island of Yo-Do, near the port city of Wonsan on the enemy controlled harbor. Given a 45 day timeline, the Seabees worked tirelessly for 16 hours a day, often under fire by North Korean bombardments. Sixteen days later, the Seabees constructed a 2,400-foot runway and sent out the discreet call over the transmitter: “Steak for dinner.” The coded message signaled all frantic Allied pilots in the area that the airbase was ready. Once the pilots landed safely, the Seabees would refit and refuel the planes if they were salvageable and send them on their way back to aircraft carriers and more risk-averse bases.