Tuesday, July 5, 2016

By Pete Ward      

Courtesy of Osprey Publishing Oxford, United Kingdom | 15 June 2016 

With the passing of Robert F ‘Bob’ Dorr on 12 June 2016, Osprey has lost one of its most accomplished authors. He was given his first book commissions by the company in the 1980s whilst serving as a Foreign Service Officer in the US Embassy in London, Bob writing more than half of the titles that appeared in the company’s landmark Air Combat series. He also regularly wrote books in the famous Colour Series during this period and into the 1990s, working closely with Osprey aviation editor Dennis Baldry. Bob’s style was very personable, reflecting the numerous contacts he had within the US armed forces and particularly the USAF.
Aside from his work for Osprey (which included five titles in the long-running Combat Aircraft series on two of his favourite USAAF ‘heavies’, namely the B-24 and the B-29), Bob was widely published in aviation and military journals. Indeed, his opinion columns in Military Times, Combat Aircraft and Air Power History were compulsory reading for those either in the armed forces or interested in modern airpower. One of life’s outstanding characters, the author of more than 70 books, hundreds of fictional action stories and countless articles on aviation, Bob Dorr will be sorely missed.
Dennis Baldry, Bob’s first editor at Osprey, had this to say:

I said my final goodbye to Bob via email earlier this year. Quite the most heartbreaking I've ever sent, knowing that I would never receive a reply. He does, of course, leave a brilliant body of work. His place among the all-time greats of aviation writing is assured. I'm still enormously proud of the fact that I happened to be the editor who published his first aviation book. As you know, there was actually little or nothing to edit. His manuscripts were word perfect and a joy to read. I don’t think Bob ever quite forgave me for publishing a separate book on the UK Phantom. And I think he had a point!


From the Washington Post, July 3, 2016

Robert F. Dorr, author of military histories, dies at 76
By Bart Barnes
The Washington Post © | July 3, 2016 
Robert F. Dorr, an author and former Foreign Service officer who wrote hundreds of books, newspaper and magazine articles on military aircraft, battles and history, died June 12 at a hospital in Falls Church, Va. He was 76.
The cause was a brain tumor, said a son, Robert P. Dorr.
From 1964 to 1989, Mr. Dorr was in the Foreign Service, mainly as a political officer, and his assignments included South Korea, Madagascar, Japan, Sweden, London and Liberia.
In retirement, he wrote books on topics ranging from World War II history to more recent military missions to novels and adventure stories. His 1991 volume about the Persian Gulf War, “Desert Shield: The Buildup, the Complete Story,” reportedly sold 100,000 copies.
Mr. Dorr was a columnist for Air Force Times and other military publications and often was a “sympathetic voice for enlisted airmen,” said Kathleen Curthoys, a presentation editor at Military Times.

Robert Francis Dorr was born in Washington on Sept. 11, 1939. He grew up near Bolling Air Force Base and since childhood was fascinated by airplanes. With money he earned from a paper route, he bought an Underwood typewriter and began writing stories when he was 12.
As a student at Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, Md., Mr. Dorr began his writing career with an unsolicited article in Air Force Magazine arguing that bombers in the Strategic Air Command needed fighter aircraft escorts, the Air Force Times said in an obituary.
After high school graduation in 1957, Mr. Dorr served four years in the Air Force, stationed mostly in Korea. Having learned the language, he eavesdropped on North Korean communications. He later settled in San Francisco, attended the University of California at Berkeley and began writing adventure stories for pulp fiction magazines.
In 1968 he married a Korean national, Young Soon Cho, and they later settled in Oakton, Va. Besides his wife, survivors include two sons, Robert P. Dorr of Arlington, Va., and Lawrence G. Dorr III of Trinity, Fla.; a brother; and three grandchildren.