Monday, July 28, 2014

Author Spotlight: Dennis Okerstrom

Project 9: The Birth of the Air Commandos in World War II by Dennis R. Okerstrom 

Project 9 is a thoroughly researched narrative of the Allied joint project to invade Burma by air. Beginning with its inception at the Quebec Conference of 1943 and continuing through Operation Thursday until the death of the brilliant British General Orde Wingate in March 1944, less than a month after the successful invasion of Burma, Project 9 details all aspects of this covert mission, including the selection of the American airmen, the procurement of the aircraft, the joint training with British troops, and the dangerous nighttime assault behind Japanese lines by glider.  

The release of the book coincides with the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Burma. In a presentation at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, Okerstrom shared the story of Project 9 with the assistance of World War II veteran Dick Cole, age 98. Cole was with the 1st Air Commando Group, a forerunner to modern special operations units such as SEAL Team Six and Delta Force. Dick Cole served as Jimmy Doolittle's copilot during the Tokyo Raid and is one of only four surviving Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. Cole and Okerstrom are also joined by two other Air Commandos, Patt Meara and Bill Cartwright.

Dennis Okerstrom's The Final Mission of Bottoms Up: A World War II Pilot's Story is also published by the University of Missouri Press.

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