Robert F. Dorr

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Robert Francis Dorr
Robert F. Dorr AH-1W Oct 2003.jpg
Robert F. Dorr in 2003
Occupation author, diplomat
Nationality United States
Period 20th century
Genre Military history, Air Force History, Aviation History
Subject World War II, Korean War, Aviation in the 20th Century

Robert F. Dorr (born September 11, 1939) is an author and retired senior 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 on the Masthead as the technical editor of Air Power History, [1] the journal of the Air Force Historical Foundation, and was Washington correspondent for the discontinued World Air Power Journal.[2] He has been known to go by the alias Don Barnes and is apparently considering writing his next book under this pen name.


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, famous for later serving as President Richard Nixon's appointee for the U.S. delegation to the 1974 Paris Peace Talks, effectively ending the War in Vietnam.

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),[3]Air & Space/Smithsonian,[4] and Flight Journal.[5] 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.

Latest projects[edit]

Fighting Hitler’s Jets was published in 2013 and describes Nazi Germany’s introduction of jet and rocket-powered aircraft into the aerial battlefields of World War II. The book also discusses the actions taken by the Allies to counter these advanced aircraft.[6]

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.[7]

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."

Dorr published his first novel Hitler's Time Machine in January 2015. The story concerns competing groups of American and German scientists trying to perfect a working time machine in order to influence the outcome of World War II.[8]

Published books[edit]

A partial listing of books authored or co-authored include:

External links[edit]