Robert F. Dorr
|Robert Francis Dorr|
Robert F. Dorr in 2003
|Genres||Military history, Air Force History, Aviation History|
|Subjects||World War II, Korean War, Aviation in the 20th Century|
Robert F. Dorr (born September 11, 1939) is an author and retired American diplomat who has authored 70 books and numerous articles on international affairs, military issues and the Vietnam War. He writes the weekly "Back Talk" opinion column for the Air Force Times newspaper and the monthly "Washington Watch" feature of Aerospace America. He is also the on the Masthead as the technical editor of Air Power History,  the journal of the Air Force Historical Foundation, and was Washington correspondent for the discontinued World Air Power Journal.
Dorr served in the United States Air Force in Korea (1957–60) and spent 24 years as a Foreign Service Officer (1964–89) with the U.S. State Department. He held senior positions in Washington after tours of duty in Tananarive, Madagascar; Seoul, Korea; Fukuoka, Japan; Monrovia, Liberia; Stockholm, Sweden; and London, England. He married his wife, a South Korean national, in 1968 in a ceremony that was held at the home of his Foreign Service mentor, Ambassador William J. Porter.
Dorr published his first magazine article in 1955 (age 16) and is best known for magazine and newspaper work. In 1978, he received a non-fiction award from the now-defunct Aviation/Space Writers Association. He regularly contributes articles to Air Forces Monthly, Aerospace America magazine, the journal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA),Air & Space/Smithsonian, and Flight Journal. His weekly opinion column in the trade journal Air Force Times is read by about 100,000 current, former and retired military members and their families. Between 2000 and 2009, he wrote four weekly history columns a week for the Military Times newspapers. Mr. Dorr's opinion columns indicate strong support for the military and reflect a liberal political point of view. In a September 10, 2007 column that was widely reprinted around the United States, he called for an end to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and for treating war prisoners openly under the 1949 Geneva Convention. Before U.S. law changed to permit it, Dorr called for the military to allow homosexuals to serve openly. In other columns he has urged veterans service organizations to get up to date to attract younger veterans and has written about what he calls the dismantling of the Air Force in an era of tight budgets.
Dorr is an observer of events in North Korea. Service academies, universities and Veteran's groups have used his speeches and writings on foreign affairs and Air Force history. Dorr has been interviewed on several networks, including C-SPAN, the Discovery Channel, CNN and local Washington-area newscasts. In 2010, he was given an Achievement Award by the Air Force Historical Foundation for his work for the foundation and its magazine, Air Power History.
Dorr's book Mission to Tokyo about B-29 Superfortress crews in the war against Japan was published September 4, 2012. Focused in part on the firebomb mission to the Japanese capital on the night of March 9–10, 1945, the book is based on interviews with crewmembers. Readers encounter characters as disparate as the gruff, cigar-smoking Gen. Curtis LeMay and the author and artist Yoko Ono. Walter J. Boyne wrote in a review: "Mission to Tokyo is yet another incredible solo example of Bob’s prolific scholarship and dedication to the art of writing aviation history."*
Dorr's book Mission to Berlin, about the Eighth Air Force raid of February 3. 1945 over Europe in World War II, was published May 1, 2011. This is primarily a history of B-17 Flying Fortress crews in one of the largest air battles of the war but it also covers Americans who flew and maintained the B-24 Liberator, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang.
Dorr and former astronaut Tom Jones published in 2008 a wartime history of the 365th Fighter Group, Hell Hawks. This is a history of an aerial band of brothers who went ashore at Normandy just after the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion, fought on the continent through the Battle of the Bulge, and were still in action when Germany surrendered. These American airmen lived under crude conditions, were subject to harsh weather and frequent enemy attacks as they moved from one airbase to another, accompanying the Allied advance toward Germany. To tell their story, Dorr and Jones interviewed 183 surviving veterans who supported, maintained, and piloted the group's P-47 Thunderbolt fighters. Hell Hawks is in its ninth printing with almost 30,000 copies in print. Referring to Hell Hawks, Walter J. Boyne, former director of the National Air and Space Museum and member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, wrote, "Hell Hawks sets a new standard for histories of the tactical air war in Europe. Veteran authors Bob Dorr and Tom Jones combine masterfully crafted veteran interviews with the broader picture of the air war fought by the Thunderbolt men." The Experimental Aircraft Association's Warbirds magazine (July 2008) wrote, "Hell Hawks is a Stephen Ambrose-style history of a 'band of brothers' with airplanes."
A partial listing of books authored or co-authored include:
- Air Combat: An Oral History of Fighter Pilots (2007) ISBN 0-425-21170-3
- Air Force One (2002) ISBN 0-7603-1055-6
- Air War Hanoi (1988) ISBN 0-7137-1783-1
- Air War: South Vietnam (1991) ISBN 1-85409-001-1
- B-24 Liberator Units of the Eighth Air Force (1999) ISBN 1-85532-901-8
- B-24 Liberator Units of the Fifteenth Air Force (2000) ISBN 1-84176-081-1
- B-24 Liberator Units of the Pacific War (1999) ISBN 1-85532-781-3
- B-29 Superfortress Units of the Korean War (2003) ISBN 1-84176-654-2
- B-29 Superfortress Units of World War II (2002) ISBN 1-84176-285-7
- B-52 Stratofortress : Boeing's Cold War warrior ISBN 1-84176-097-8
- Chopper: A History of America Military Helicopter Operations from WWII to the War on Terror (2005) ISBN 0-425-20273-9
- Desert Shield : the build-up, the complete story (1991) ISBN 0-87938-506-5
- Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht (2008) with Tom Jones. ISBN 0-7603-2918-4. Zenith Press.
- Korean War Aces (1995) ISBN 1-85532-501-2
- McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II" (1988) ISBN 0-85045-587-1
- Marine Air: The History of the Flying Leathernecks in Words and Photos (2007) ISBN 0-425-21364-1
- Mission to Berlin (2011) ISBN 978-0-7603-3898-8
- Mission to Tokyo (2012) ISBN 1-7603-4122-2
- U.S. Marines: The People and Equipment Behind America's First Military Response (2006) ISBN 1-59223-618-9
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert F. Dorr.|
- Review of Mission to Tokyo by Walter J. Boyne
- Air Force Times article "Vietnam era's Dragonfly a ground-support warrior" January 13, 2003
- Osprey Publishing, Robert F Dorr