Meet the Co-authors
Born in Africa during the colonial era, Michael is an Australian who has been interested in the history of the U.S. Fifth Air Force during World War II ever since he discovered airplane wrecks in New Guinea as a boy. This evolved into an obsession with World War II Pacific aviation in general which led to him to find, and then help salvage, the 312th Bomb Group A-20G THE HELL’N PELICAN in 1976 and 1984, respectively. He has a pilot’s license and his hobbies include aircraft restoration. Although he works full-time as a researcher for the Australian Government, his passion for aviation history has led him to accepting the position of Assistant Editor for the Flightpath magazine, Australia, for which he writes at least one article each month on World War II aviation history in the South and Southwest Pacific. In his other job, Michael has completed diplomatic postings to the Australian embassies in Thailand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Cambodia with shorter assignments to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Both the Pacific war and, most especially, Fifth Air Force still loom large in Michael’s life, who appears here with his New Zealand-born wife, Greta.
Don’s entire adult life reflected his deep interest in the Air Force and in the technology that enabled the AF to enter the Space Age. As a navigator on B-24s with the 22nd Bomb Group, Don flew 52 missions in the Southwest Pacific. After World War II ended and a brief stint as a civilian in which he ran a private charter firm, Don rejoined the Air Force early in the Korean War and flew 50 combat missions in B-26s. After returning to the States he was assigned to MATS and flew people all over the world in C-97s. His next assignment at Alamogordo marked the beginning of his interest in engineering and space. He was graduated from the AF Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson, did more graduate work in physics at several facilities and universities and transferred to the Space Systems Command. There he took part in many early space accomplishments. After more study and teaching at various AF research institutions, and taking part in setting up early GPS navigation system, Don retired as a colonel in 1975. As a civilian, he continued work with the Aerospace Corp. until his interest in the 22nd Bomb Group led him to begin the research and writing that led to the publication of Revenge of the Red Raiders. He died on September 10, 2005, shortly before publication of the book. Don is survived by his wife, Alyce, who was with him all those years, and two sons.
The original idea of writing a book to report the history of the 22nd Bomb Group belonged to Walt Gaylor, who joined the 22nd in June 1941 as adjutant of the 33rd Squadron at Langley Field and, after Pearl Harbor, was with the Group on every move from Muroc to Northern Australia to the combat zones in New Guinea and the former Dutch East Indies, ending up in 1944 at Owi as Commanding Officer of the Group’s Headquarters detachment.
Walt began his Army career in 1935 as a 22-year-old 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry Reserves while studying analytical chemistry at Penn State. Later he earned a degree in English literature at Harvard. While serving as acting headmaster of a prep school during the late 1930s and still in the Reserves, he was ordered into the Army Air Corps in 1941 and sent to Langley. After returning to the States in 1944, he became commandant of troops at Drew Field, Tampa. It was about this time that he wrote up an early part of the Group history, called The Marauder, which dealt with the B-26 era. He also began collecting material for a future history that would cover the B-25 and B-24 periods as well.
After the war Walt taught English for a while and then became editor of The Technical Survey, a weekly intelligence report on technology advances. In 1950 he took on the huge task of organizing the annual reunions and publishing the 22nd Newsletter. By 1985 he had retired from The Technical Survey and begun working with Larry Hickey to publish a history using photocopies of mission reports and other data from the National Archives and diaries and photographs donated by members of the Group. His contributions formed a cornerstone for what has become Revenge of the Red Raiders. Walt was president of the 22nd Bomb Group Association for 50 years and continued to serve until his death on January 27, 2004.
Mark has a Bachelor’s degree in history and literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Denver. In addition to his work on both volumes of Saga of the Sun Setters, his other historical interests include war, genocide, and human rights. He has conducted research in Germany, Poland, the DRC, Rwanda, and Cambodia (where he used to live). He has served as a member of a human rights delegation to Cambodia, and is a former member of the “Dialogue on Defense” project at CU Boulder. Now in Chapel Hill, NC, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Geography and an MS in Biostatistics (his liberal arts education included a lot of math). Much of his research these days focuses on developing and using spatial-statistical methods to try to understand how and why drug-resistant malaria is spreading in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mike was born in the Bronx, New York. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the City College of New York and New York University. In graduate school, he specialized in American history and East Asian history. For 29 years, Mike was a historian with the United States Air Force. Before retiring from the federal government, he worked for four years as a writer/editor with the Bureau of Land Management. The wilderness experience has been very important to him. For 13 years, Mike and his friends spent three to four weeks each summer canoeing Canada’s wild rivers. It was on these expeditions to northern Ontario and Quebec and the arctic and subarctic regions of the Northwest Territories that he became serious about sharing the beauty and wonder of nature with others. From 1984 to 2004, he did nature photography professionally. Mike began working part time for International Historical Research Associates in October 2005 as a co-author on Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s, then worked on Harvest of the Grim Reapers Vol. II. Mike lives in Broomfield, Colorado, and he spends much of his free time hiking in the Colorado wilderness.
At age 18, Harry became a photo-gunner with the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (later the 408th Bomb Squadron) and served in the 22nd Bomb Group from September 1941 until May 1943 when he and other original combat crew members of the Group were rotated back to the States for reassignment. Stationed for a short time at MacDill Field in Tampa as an instructor training new B-26 crews headed for the Mediterranean area, he was grounded because of eye problems and assigned to the 6th Photo Technical Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In April 1944 the squadron was sent to the Southwest Pacific to process combat film for the 13th Air Force. Harry was assigned as the NCO to lead an advance contingent that followed the advancing Allied troops each step of the way to Leyte, where he was stationed when the war ended. After obtaining a degree at the University of Southern California, he became a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and eventually specialized in writing about the science of medicine and the socio-economics of health care worldwide. After retiring from the Times in 1988, he freelanced for UNICEF and the World Health Organization and others. His current interest involves protecting the environment from unnecessary, wasteful development.
James T. “Jim” Pettus, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1919. He became a pilot as a young man, earning his pilot license in 1938. When World War II broke out, Pettus went to Canada to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. He later transferred to the United States Army Air Forces as a Captain, and joined the 43rd Bomb Group as an overseas replacement. Pettus rose through the ranks, becoming Operations Officer, Deputy Group C.O., and finally, the Commanding Officer of the 43rd, where he achieved the rank of full Colonel. Notably, he was one of the pilots to transport Japanese emissaries that negotiated the surrender during late August 1945.
Continuing his service to his country after the war, Jim worked at the Department of State for many years and served in various posts around the world. Pettus retired to Honolulu, where he co-wrote Ken’s Men Against the Empire: The B-24 Era. He died on March 10, 2001.
Edward was born in Athens Georgia, the son of parents who both served in the Armed Forces. His childhood was filled with stories of the Apollo Space program, National Geographic Magazine, building plastic models of WWII planes and tanks and watching documentaries such as “The World at War.” He began to study archaeology in 1984 and received a B.A. in Anthropology from Georgia Southern University in 1986 and a M.A. in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University in 1996. He was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the excavation, study & publication of the Late Bronze Age shipwreck at Uluburun, Turkey. Between 2003 and 2010 he taught Anthropology and Archaeology at Georgia Southern University.
His lifelong interest in the history of World War II expanded exponentially in 2003 after which he was able to meet veterans, historians and enthusiasts through the internet. In 2005 he journeyed to New Guinea with Larry and Sue Hickey to experience the battlegrounds of the Fifth Air Force. Following this he was invited by Hickey to be a co-author of the 3rd Bomb Group history. Edward has greatly appreciated having the opportunity to meet and interview veterans and share his research with their families. The fate of WWII MIAs and the impact of their loss on their families is of great importance to him.
Edward’s research and writing have appeared in a number of books about the early history of the air war in the Southwest Pacific. He currently lives in Statesboro, Georgia where he continues to pursue his interests in archaeology and WWII history.
Osamu Tagaya, known as “Sam” to his friends, was born in Japan in 1950, the son of a former technical officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He has had a lifelong interest in military aviation, and he brings a unique bilingual and bi-cultural perspective to his research and writing, having been educated in Japan, Canada and the U.S. After graduating with a law degree from Cornell University, Sam worked for a major U.S. investment bank for many years in Japan, the U.S. and U.K. He lives in San Francisco, California and is co-owner of a private equity merchant banking firm while continuing to pursue his historical aviation interests, which includes contributing much of the Japanese material to the Eagles Over the Pacific series.