[Photo shows at right, Mike Muller aka Antoine Michal Muller, one among FOUR (4) personalities from among the many veterans who fought for freedom and democracy during the 1950-1953 Korean War, to receive the highest South Korea’s award— the Taegeuk Cordon Order of the Military Merit Medal, on the occasion of the 63rd Korean War Armistice Anniversary on July 27, 2016. To Mike’s side is his lovely and classy wife Katie. This photo was snapped at their cozy Pretoria, South Africa home.]
When I went to South Korea in the 4th week of July 2016 to represent Daddy Max (i.e. Maximo P. Young) in receiving an award, the Taegeuk Cordon Order of the Military Merit Medal from the Republic of Korea’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, I became friends with THREE (3) notable personalities.
These THREE (3) personages (myself included which made us a QUARTET of notable men) jointly became the cynosure in that 63rd anniversary of the Korean War Armistice; namely: Antoine Michal Muller (“Mike”) from South Africa, Patrick Beaudoine (“Patrick’) from France and Jeffery Coalter Davis (“Jeffery”),who represented his granddad, Raymond Davis (“Raymond”); from the U.S.A. These THREE (3) similarly received the Taegeuk Cordon Order of the Military Merit Medal; Mike and the late Raymond for their Korean War feat just like Daddy Max and Patrick for his invaluable/dedicated service as President in Paris, France of the French Korean War Veterans’ Association.
From among those THREE (3) awardees, Mike became closer to me as we were almost always in touch during that 6-day Korean War Armistice event. In fact, we (i.e. myself and Mike) sat side by side, as we shared the same head table during the THANK YOU Dinner held at Seoul’s Hyatt Hotel Ballroom, after that morning’s awarding ceremony on July 27, 2016 at the Seoul Olympics Hall. And from those tidbits of information that I was able to gather from Mike, in our casual talks, boarding the same car unto the Seoul Olympics Hall, and those had inside the shuttle bus which ferried the event participants from place to place, including my further research; I now want to share this BLOG which I have transcribed about my friend Mike. Though Mike was very much taciturn in regard to his Korean War feat, virtually curtailing me to write about it; I got so fascinated with Mike’s outstanding humility, dignified and polished manners. As only tidbits of information came out from Mike’s seemingly sealed mouth, I actually embarked on an intensive research on Mike’s life and the daring Korean War feat of the 2 Squadron SAAF. Thus, I hope Mike will forgive me for this well-meaning intrusion.
Antoine Michal Muller aka Mike was born on June 28, 1930 in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, South Africa. Mike went through his secondary education at the Hoerskool Monument in Krugersdorp and eventually at the Hoerskool Sentraal in Bloomfontein, South Africa. After his secondary education, Mike studied at the South African Military College, now known as the South African Military Academy.
During the 1950 Korean War, Mike saw action as a pilot. Mike was part of the famed 2 Squadron SAAF. 2 Squadron SAAF is considered as an elite air force unit of the South African Air Force which has a long history of combat. During the Second World War, it made a name for itself in the battles for East Africa, before reaping laurels in North Africa as part of the Desert Air Force.
In this year’s celebration of the Korean War Armistice Anniversary, the Republic of Korea invited the so-called United Nations (UN) soldiers who fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement that halted the South Korean-North Korean conflict.
As earlier said, among those who were honored (actually only 4 personalities were awarded the South Korea’s highest military decoration, the Taegeuk Cordon of the Order of the Military Merit Medal), was Gen. Antoine Michal Muller, for his daring war feat in providing cover to the UN forces who were on the ground fighting off the North Korean soldiers with their Chinese communists reinforcements.
It would appear that in the many combat sorties flown by the F-51D-Mustang operated by Mike, after some scary skirmish; Mike needed to parachute out of the cockpit as his plane got hit and for this, he was brought deep into the enemy lines. However, after some time, Mike was successfully rescued.
During the Korean War, the 2 Squadron SAAF came under the operational control of the US Fifth Air Force and it was charged with the following main tasks: (1) destruction of enemy air power; (2) close support of UN ground forces; (3) maximum range armed reconnaissance and offensive strikes; (4) interdiction of enemy ground lines and communications to include attacks along avenues of escape for enemy forces; (5) escort and/or cover for UN air, sea and land forces; and, (6) air defense of military installations.
On those successful combat sorties had during the Korean War of the 2 Squadron SAAF where Mike served as one of its elite pilots, they invariably received commendations of “outstanding performance” from the then Commanding General of the US Fifth Air Force, Major General Earle E. Partridge.
Mike eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant General and was named South African military commander, who thereby held on the post of Chief of the South African Air Force.
Ultimately indeed, Mike was appointed Chief of Air Staff operations in July 1978 before becoming Chief of the Air Force in December 1979. After his retirement from the military, Mike served as Ambassador to Chile, which explains Mike’s genteel, well-bred and good-mannered persona. And Mike was so overly humble too, because when I commended him about his daring feat in the Korean War, his casual repartee was this: “I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB.”
A GRAND SALUTE FOR MIKE MULLER!!!!