General & President “Ike” Eisenhower Slept Here
It was September 21, 1953, seven weeks after an armistice ended the Korean War. Operation Moolah was in effect. Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force (USAF) effort during the Korean War to obtain (through defection from any Russian, Chinese or North Korean pilot) a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter to deliver to America. The US had attempted to obtain a MiG for years because it was considered to be the best fighter aircraft of the 1950’s and Korean War. The performance of the MiG-15 outclassed and amazed its’ Western opponents.
That morning, North Korean fighter pilot No Kum Sok seized his opportunity to escape a dead end future in North Korea and find asylum in America. He climbed into the cockpit of a MiG-15 and flew it to Kimpo, an American air base near Seoul in South Korea.That same morning president Eisenhower flew out of Washington, D.C. to Boston before the reports about the MiG and the North Korean defector reached the White House.
Eisenhower stayed at the Annex to the Algonquin Club at 223 Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston and was called by the White House that day and given the news “We got the MiG.” Eisenhower dictated in a personal and confidential letter to his longtime advisor and confidante, Walter Bedell Smith, Undersecretary of State “I am sorry I was not in Washington today to discuss the MiG incident with the entire staff.” He was not sorry, however, that he was staying on America’s grandest avenue at 223 Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston.