Biography project for Colonel James H. Kasler

One of Perry's coworkers from the AF Academy contacted him about a manuscript that had a fascinating story but it wasn't publishable. He asked Perry to read the manuscript and let him know if he was interested in fixing it. Perry was very interested! The biography was about Colonel James H. Kasler, who served in three wars, is the only person to date to be awarded three Air Force Crosses for valor, became a Korean ace, and was a Vietnam POW for 6 1/2 years.

I told Perry if he was to write about Colonel Kasler, he needed to interview him so he would know the man behind the medals. On the flight to meet Jim and Martha Kasler, Perry wrote questions to use in the interview. He asked me to write questions to use for interviewing Martha. And that was the beginning of a grand adventure for the both of us!

Kasler medals framed

Later, we stayed several days in the Kasler's home in Momence, IL, looking through trunks and boxes of photos, newspaper and magazine articles, letters, and books written by other POWs in Vietnam. It was a history lesson! I shot this photo of Colonel Kasler's medals, rank insignias, a map of all the places he flew, and sketches of 16 different planes he piloted while serving in the Air Force. In the fifties, he was also a test pilot -- a job in which many lost their lives.