Sergey Kramarenko

Sergey Kramarenko

Fighter pilot, General - Major of aviation
Date of Birth: 10.04.1923
Country: Ukraine

Biography of Sergey Kramarenko

Sergey Makarovich Kramarenko was born on April 10, 1923, in the village of Kalinovka, Romny district, Sumy region. His father, Makar Ivanovich (1890-1967), and mother, Nadezhda Grigorievna (1901-1982), were farmers. During his school years, like hundreds of thousands of his peers, Sergey participated in defense circles of the Osoaviakhim organization and even became the leader of one of them. However, he never particularly thought about a military career. After finishing ten years of school, Sergey enrolled in the Moscow Institute of Railway Transport in 1940. However, he had to leave his studies. With a Komsomol voucher, Sergey soon found himself in the Dzerzhinsky aeroclub. After completing his training there, he was admitted to the Borisoglebsk Military Aviation Pilot School. He excelled in theory, and practical flights were mastered on UT-2 and I-16 aircraft. It was during this time that the Great Patriotic War began.

Sergey Kramarenko

In June 1942, the school was moved from Povorino station to the depths of the country. And eight of the most prepared cadets, including Kramarenko, were sent to the 1st Reserve Aviation Regiment, which was located in Arzamas. From August 1942, the young pilot took part in combat operations as part of the 523rd Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 303rd Fighter Aviation Division on the Western Front near the city of Sukhinichi. He flew on the La-5 aircraft. In a year, he made more than 80 sorties. In unequal battles with enemy aviation, Sergeant Kramarenko shot down an enemy aircraft and, as a bonus, an observation balloon. He proved himself to be a brave and initiative pilot, gaining the respect and love of his comrades.

During those days, he joined the party and was transferred to the 19th Fighter Aviation Regiment, or, as it was called at the time, the "hunters" regiment. Soon, he exchanged his sergeant shoulder boards for officer ones with a small star. After moving to Berezdichev, the newly minted Junior Lieutenant narrowly escaped death. On March 19, during an aerial battle near Proskurov, his La-5 caught fire. The Germans captured the burned pilot and sent him to a prisoner of war camp, where he was placed in a hospital. Fortunately, his captivity did not last long. On the 7th day, our tanks entered the city. The Germans had to run, taking with them only prisoners of war and lightly wounded. Sergey and a few of his neighbors from the hospital were left behind. They were liberated by arriving infantry and immediately taken to the nearest hospital. Here, the Junior Lieutenant faced another misfortune: he contracted typhus and then pneumonia. It was only in May that he began to walk somewhat. And the first thing he did was visit the airfield, where he unexpectedly met his comrades. He was taken to the commander, who immediately contacted the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, and almost the next day Kramarenko found himself in the Central Aviation Hospital in Sokolniki. The doctors continued to bring him back to normal for a long time, until September.

Sergey came to the medical commission leaning on a cane but left it in the corridor, not showing that it was unbearably painful to walk. And the commission, although with difficulty, recognized him fit for flight duty. He was sent to an unfamiliar unit, where he did not want to go at all.

And then he accidentally learned that his native regiment was in Brest. An acquaintance pilot flew him to the bombers near Baranovichi. From there, "the deserter" made his way to Brest by train on his own. However, he did not find his own people there – part of them was already fighting in the skies of Poland. But he found a liaison plane of the regiment, on which he reached his destination. At the end of October 1944, returning to his 176th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, he immediately entered the combat routine of his unit. Several times, he flew as the wingman of the famous ace I. N. Kozhedub on his new La-7. Kramarenko personally shot down one enemy aircraft during this time. But most often he flew with the navigator of the regiment, Hero of the Soviet Union Major A. S. Kumanichkin, helping him disable 12 enemy planes. And in group battles with his participation, another 10 enemy aircraft were destroyed.

From Germany, part of the regiment was transferred to Moscow. Now everyday service, preparation, and participation in air parades took up all the time. A few years later, when the American aggression in Korea began, the deputy commander of the Air Force of the district came to the regiment to recruit volunteers. Everyone expressed their desire. But only 30 people, the most prepared with combat experience, were selected. Shortly afterward, they, including Deputy Squadron Commander Guard Captain Kramarenko, were sent to the Far East by train. They settled on the territory of the People's Republic of China. The pilots were dressed in Chinese uniforms and trained intensively. They were then moved closer to Korea at the Andong airfield, where the formation of the 324th Fighter Aviation Division under the command of Guard Colonel I. N. Kozhedub was completed.

In the spring of 1951, the fighting began, and losses were incurred. The battles around the railroad bridge over the Yalu River were particularly fierce. It was an important strategic hub, and the Americans were determined to put it out of order. On April 10, 48 B-29 bombers accompanied by 100 F-84 fighters made another raid. The division commander immediately ordered all his planes to intercept. The "MiGs" literally crashed into the American formations. A carousel started in the sky. In a short battle, 12 "flying fortresses" were shot down. The Yankees, however, recorded 27. Apparently, an additional 15 were so riddled that they could not be restored. Over 100 pilots from the downed aircraft used parachutes and ended up in captivity. Four F-84 fighters burned in the sky. Kramarenko, with his six "MiGs," did not allow them to protect the bombers and shot down the lead group's F-84. American pilots called this day "Black Tuesday" and did not show up in the Korean sky for about three months. As for our side, not a single aircraft was lost that day.

In the Korean sky, Squadron Commander Captain Kramarenko shot down 13 aircraft. Two more were not counted. By the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated October 10, 1951, for personal heroism and military skill, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

On January 17, 1952, Captain Kramarenko was unlucky. His fighter was shot down, and he had to eject. An American pilot tried to finish off Kramarenko in the air but fortunately missed. A couple of weeks later, part of the regiment returned to the Motherland and was stationed in Kaluga. In the same year, Kramarenko became a student at the Air Force Academy, which he graduated from in 1955. Everyday service began. First in Belarus, then in Georgia. He became the commander of a fighter aviation regiment, and in Novosibirsk, he was appointed the deputy commander of the division. He flew successively on MiG-17, MiG-21, and Su-9 aircraft. He was later transferred to Moscow as a senior pilot-instructor of the Air Force Security Service. He was then assigned to Chita as the deputy chief of staff of the 23rd Air Army. In 1970, he worked as a military advisor in Iraq and Algeria. In 1979, he became a Major General. In 1981, Sergey Makarovich retired.

Currently, S. M. Kramarenko continues to be actively involved in public work. He is an honorary professor of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the deputy chairman of the board of the Club of Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, and Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory.