A Pacific War Scrapbook
"Expertly presented and notated, informed and informative, this book is an invaluable addition to the growing library of World War II memoirs and histories." -- Midwest Book Review
When Kenny Kemp dug into his deceased father’s footlocker, he figured the contents would end up in a shadow box and that would be it. But as he spread the orders, letters, manuals, photo albums, and his father’s flight gear out on a table, something began to emerge: a story not only about O.C. Kemp, but about tens of thousands of young men who heard their country’s call and joined the service after Pearl Harbor.
Slowly Kenny was able to piece together his father’s journey from working in a factory in San Diego building the famous B-24 Liberator bomber—a ship her pilots called the “flying boxcar” for her inelegant design—through basic training in the Army, transfer to aviation cadet school in Texas, then on to the prairies of Kansas and the deserts of California for flight training, and finally to a tiny island in the South Pacific from which he staged bombing runs over the Philippines, the Palaus, the Carolines, and finally China and Japan itself.
His adventure, like that of so many others, earned him a place in history. Not as hero, he would say; the heroes were the men who died in those far away places. But he was a proud participant in what can rightly be said to be the greatest campaign for liberty the world has ever known.
This is his -- and their -- story.
WWII's Great Unsung Hero
"This is a coffee-table book in the best sense of the term. You can pick it up and open it at random and read about some aspect of the Liberator, or start from the beginning, or just wallow in the rich graphics, being immediately plunged into another time and place, and, most of all, a world that must not be forgotten. With a book like this, it won't be. -- Dave Matheny, columnist, EAA Sport Pilot magazine
It was an ugly duckling, slab-sided with skinny chicken-wings, an odd split-tail, and a fat underbelly that looked unlikely to fly. Yet they built more of this aircraft than any American military aircraft in history, right up to and including today.
Many people who see Witchcraft have never laid eyes on a B-24 Liberator, but it was a plane for the times. Just nine months elapsed between its conception and its first flight, which took place just a few weeks after World War II broke out in Europe. And just four years later, as the War was ending in Europe and about to end in the Pacific, it had already been eclipsed by the B-29 Superfortress.
Given to our allies after the war or melted for storm shutters, the Liberator would have been entirely forgotten had the newly independent country of India needed an air force.
After 20 years of service, it was once again abandoned, the Plexiglas turrets yellowing and cracking in the sub-equatorial sun, the olive drab paint peeling, the dials and gauges cracking and inner works springing loose.
It was not until the early 1980s that the children of WWII vets began to wonder what made their fathers so special, and the demand for warbirds increased and has not flagged since.
This last flying bomber exemplar was purchased Robert Collings, who intended to restore it for museum display but was talked into a complete flying restoration and in 1989 the ship flew again and has been on the road for almost thirty years on the nationwide Wings of Freedom Tour, delighting visitors all across the country.
A Father, A Son, and the
Blueprints for a Meaningful Life
"Kemp's soft voice and gentle tone, coupled with crisp, smart cover and interior design make this book a winner on many levels." -- Writer's Digest
On the day before Christmas, Kenny Kemp raised his father's heavy garage door and began clearing out what O.C. Kemp had spent 40 years filling up. It was four months after his untimely death from Lou Gehrig's Disease, a painful time in which no answers came. Why him? Why now? Why, God?
But as Kenny worked the answers slowly came, preserved in mayonnaise jars full of straightened nails, hidden in workbench drawers, secreted in the tool collection, and waiting patiently in a 30 year-old piece of green plywood -- precious relics which spoke in silent eloquence to the greatness of a man who never knew he was.
Dad Was a Carpenter is the story of a humble man with poor eyesight, gapped teeth, and no hearing in one ear who, throughout a lifetime of quiet courage, earned the respect of his friends, the devoted love of his wife, and the honor of his children.
Check out this short book trailer about what it was like to pilot the war's great unsung hero: the B-24 Liberator.
Kenny Kemp introduces his new book.
Kenny Kemp introduces the book that won the National Self-Published Book Award and jump-started his writing career. Part 1 of 5.
More at Kenny's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/KennyOKemp/videos