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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
An amazing World War II rescue mission is depicted in the nonfictional work KAIS: A true story of a daring rescue in the swamps of New Guinea, summer 1944, written by Bas Krueger. A four-man crew from the 418th squadron manned the B-25 bomber whose mission was to destroy Japanese supply ships. The crew was made up of pilot Ira Barnett; gunner Harold Tantaquidgeon, a Mohegan Native American; navigator Thomas Wright; and radio operator Paul Whipland. On July 27, 1944, this crew and three others left on what was a relatively routine mission. However, the plane was hit by Japanese fire, and a crash landing was necessary. All four men survived, and a rescue operation began. While it took several weeks to locate the plane and bring the men back to safety, the rescue also had its perils.
This book is remarkably comprehensive in many aspects. The author is a heritage specialist, historian and writer, and the reader benefits from his attention to detailed, accurate information. Also included is the journey to New Guinea in 2019, in search of the wreckage of the B-25. Not only does Bas Krueger include historical facts, but he also includes the personal side of the story, with the inclusion of letters, photographs, and communications between the rescuers and crew. The assistance provided by the local villagers, the Papuans, adds more interest. Their knowledge of the jungle, swamps, and rivers provided needed support during 1944 and in the 2019 expedition. Author/historian Bas Krueger has written a compelling work in KAIS. It is an unforgettable read!