Tag Archives: dean hess

Symposium Seeks to Correct Record on Operation Kiddy Car

An interesting panel was recently held in Korea that commemorated — and attempted to correct the history on — Operation Kiddy Car, the US military’s evacuation of thousands of Korean orphans during the Korean War.

The operation and the autobiography by Dean Hess have been previously discussed, again when Hess died in 2015. The recent panel was held to try to re-emphasize the role of Chaplain (Col) Russell Blaisdell, whose role some feel has been unfairly ignored:

Blaisdell, his assistant Staff Sgt. Merle (Mike) Strang and South Korean social workers collected children from the streets and “saved many orphans from near-certain death,” according to an Air Force account of the operation…

Blaisdell…persuaded Col. T.C. Rogers — the unit’s director of operations and Read more

Book Review: Devil at My Heels

Louis Zamperini with David Rensin
Harper Collins, 2003 (2011)

Devil at My Heels is the updated autobiography of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete, B-24 bombardier, POW, and Christian. It seems most people come upon the book by first finding Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, the biography of the same man published around the same time.

Unsurprisingly, much of the text is the same.  It is, after all, the same man’s true story.  The stories are generally identical, though told in slightly different ways.  As noted in the review of Unbroken, Zamperini’s story there is a well told narrative but lacks Read more

Book Review: Battle Hymn

Dean Hess
Buckeye Aviation Book Company, Reynoldsburg, OH, 1987.
Topic: Christianity and War

Battle Hymn is the true story of a preacher who became a fighter pilot and fought in World War II and Korea. Col Dean Hess is largely credited with the forming the Republic of Korea (South Korea) Air Force and being the driving force behind Operation Kiddy Car, in which hundreds of orphans were flown out of Seoul to avoid the Communist invasion.

Though some sources question the bravado of Col Hess, the story presents an interesting look at a spiritual man in what sometimes seems an unholy profession. Apparently the book was also made into a movie by the same name (starring Rock Hudson) that strayed slightly from the true storyline.

Recommended. While not always complimentary of Hess’s actions (both as a Christian and an Air Force officer), it is a worthwhile read. It is a particularly interesting read for young fighter pilots who are looking to an assignment at Osan or Kunsan in Korea.

This book appears to be out of print, but the most recent (1987) and older versions are available through re-sellers at Amazon.

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