Title: Into The Land Of Darkness
Author: Arthur L. Haarmeyer
Release Date: 6th June 2013
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On a wintry morning in 1952, young Lt. Arthur L. Haarmeyer reported for duty in Korea as a B-26 bombardier-navigator to Colonel Delwin Bentley, Commander, 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, K-9 Air Force Base, Pusan. Haarmeyer was immediately challenged by the colonel: "You've got an MBA from a high-priced university. You could be riding a desk at the Pentagon right now. So why the hell are you here?" His reply--"I always wanted to be here, sir. I can be an accountant later"--was apparently convincing. But over the next seven months, flying fifty missions, mostly low-level nighttime bombing and strafing raids over mountainous North Korea, there were times when he had reason to question the sanity of both his response and his decision. In this book Haarmeyer recalls with clarity and economy of style just what it was like to fly these missions. He puts the reader in the B-26, flying into deep valleys to find and attack communist freight trains and truck convoys carrying men and materiel to the front lines, and then being unexpectedly caught in the sudden and blinding glare of enemy searchlights that triggered multiple streams of deadly and upward-arcing green or white tracers. And he recalls instances of agony, guilt, and terror: such as the times when the flak was so heavy on all sides that he was unable to advise his pilot to "break right" or "break left"-so their B-26 just simply plowed straight through it, or when they flew low enough for Haarmeyer to see, through the Plexiglas of the nose compartment, the terrified faces of the young North Korean soldiers they were targeting. He also recalls moments of breathtaking beauty and poignancy, and it is this artful juxtaposition that makes Haarmeyer's work more than just another wartime memoir. Although Haarmeyer left the Air Force upon completion of his three-year contract of military service, the recurring and troubling memories of Korea never left him. Hence, the start of this manuscript fifty years after the restoration of freedom to the people of the Republic of Korea. Just as telling these stories was therapeutic for the author, so reading them will be healing for any reader who is a veteran of that or any war, as well as their family members and friends. The book also provides a valuable perspective on the United Nations Command's tactical approach to Korea, namely, the aerial interdiction of North Korean troops and materiel, and so it will be of interest to students of the war, as well as military personnel and historians.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Born in Chicago in 1928, Arthur L. Haarmeyer earned an MBA from the University of Chicago before volunteering for service in Korea in Douglas B-26 bombers. After completing a fifty-mission combat tour of duty in Korea with the 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, he served as a first lieutenant and as project officer in design and development of bombing tactics and devices until his honorable discharge in 1955. His earned military awards and citations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. After earning a law degree at Northwestern University in 1958, he practiced law and then engaged in the development and management of commercial properties in Sacramento, California. He is currently working on his second manuscript, a compilation of biographical sketches featuring twelve Korean War combat veterans, representing every branch of our military services, whom he knew during or after that oft-forgotten United Nations effort.
It wasn't until later in life that I gave any thought whatsoever to writing a book of any kind. I was a retired lawyer and had never written much beyond legal briefs. Then, after realizing that I was afflicted with PTSD, I began writing this memoir for therapeutic reasons. You see, in 1953 I completed a fifty-mission tour of duty in Korea: flying and fighting as a bombardier-navigator in Douglas B-26 light bombers. Over the next fifty years I tried to put the war out of my mind. But it haunted me. Finally, in 2004, I began recording the frequent and horrifying flashbacks and “bad dreams” I had been experiencing for decades. That's how this book came about. It has been most gratifying. Into The Land Of Darkness was self-published in 2013. I am currently working on a second manuscript. You can get more information at my website: arthurhaarmeyer.com
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
Even if I hadn’t served at K-9 AFB, editing the USAF newspaper Knight Life, I would have found Art Haarmeyer’s Into the Land of Darkness totally fascinating. For a so-called "forgotten war," the Korean conflict has merited a remarkable number of books. This is one of the very best of them.
—Curt Gentry, the author of Helter Skelter, the Story of the Manson Murders; Operation Overflight: The Francis Gary Powers Story; The True Story of the Pueblo; John M. Browning, American Gunmaker; and many other fine books of nonfiction
A forgotten aircraft in a forgotten war. With its ten 50 caliber machine guns, six 5-inch high velocity aerial rockets, and ten 500-pound tritonal bombs, the Douglas B-26 was a formidable Night Intruder weapon. The havoc and destruction it caused has never been documented. This book describes its impressive record of combat performance and its major impact upon the outcome of the Korean War.
—Major General William C. Lindley (Lindley flew fifty combat missions in Douglas B-26s while serving as the Group Commander, 17th Bomb Group, K-9 AFB, South Korea, 1952-1953.)
Into the Land of Darkness delivers a full-scale view of what went on in the air, as well as on the ground, over North Korea and in South Korea in 1950–1953. I found it impossible to read more than a half dozen paragraphs before setting it down and reflecting upon my own combat experiences as a gunner at K-9 AFB (and later as a P-51 pilot). This book’s content and style of writing have a way of touching the soul. Haarmeyer allows us to reach back sixty years and brings back the full spectrum of the events we shared.
—Ted Baker, writer/editor/publisher of The Sortie, the quarterly newsletter of the 17th Bomb Group (WW II), the 319th BG (WW II), and the 17th/452nd Bomb Group, South Korea