This book began as a minor research paper while I was attending the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and it blossomed and took off from there. Once I completed the paper, I knew that I had to continue, expand, and edit and alter it into a workable manuscript. What started out as a minor project for work quickly evolved into a personal attempt to write another book and to fill in some holes in what I found existed in the history of the US Air Force.
I owe my attendance at the in-residence program at ACSC, and thus the genesis of this work, to the director of the Air Force History and Museum Program, Mr. Walt Grudzinskas. At ACSC, I would like to thank the faculty members and colleagues Dr. Paul Springer and Dr. John Terino for their help and support in getting the initial paper off the ground.
Across the street from ACSC sits the Air Force Historical Research Agency, where the great team under Dr. Charlie O’Connell helped with primary source location when dealing with both the original documents and those materials that have been preserved electronically. These stellar members included Sam Shearin, Leander Morris, Tammy Horton, and Maranda Gilmore.
Dr. Christopher Rein of the US Army’s Combat Studies Institute and Dr. Trevor Albertson of ACSC both assisted my work by suggesting or forwarding other primary sources on Kuter that they discovered while working on their own projects. Dr. Rein and Dr. Robert S. Ehlers Jr. both read this work in its entirety and provided corrections that improved the quality of the final product. For their dedication and their contributions, I am grateful to both of them.
The primary repository for materials on General Laurence S. Kuter is the Special Collections Branch at the US Air Force Academy library. I would never have been able to do this work without the help of the director, Dr. Mary Ruwell, and her deputy, John Beardsley, who not only allowed me to pour through the collections but were also willing to go through the trouble of getting this researcher into the cadet area, which I (p.180) can only assume was as difficult as traveling between West and East Berlin used to be.
As I continued down the path of writing a Kuter biography, I found myself reaching out to locate artifacts. In this endeavor, I would like to thank Meredith Harlow, a museum specialist at Headquarters, US Air Force Academy, who helped with information on the Japanese stone lantern, and Tiffany Arnold, assistant curator at the Midway Museum in Rockford, Illinois, who helped locate the medals and memorabilia now stored in the Midway’s archives. I also owe a debt to the US Air Force Academy Athletic Department, particularly Jim Trego, the senior associate athletic director, and Colonel Tony McKenzie for help obtaining a picture of the General Laurence S. Kuter Trophy, which I had hoped would remain in the possession of the US Air Force Academy for many years to come. Unfortunately, on 22 October 2016, the University of Hawaii “Bows” narrowly defeated the air force academy 34–27 in double overtime, sending the trophy back to the University of Hawaii. In Hawaii’s athletic department, I wish to thank Derek Inouchi for his assistance in locating additional photos of the trophy for use in this book.
Other air force history offices were generous enough to electronically send their sources to me, including the Air Mobility Command history office and their command historian Mr. Ellery D. Wallwork as well as the staff historian Mr. Jeffery S. Michalke.
Of particular importance to this endeavor was the command historian at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command history office, Dr. Lance Blyth, who not only helped in locating and going through historical documents relating to Kuter’s tenure as NORAD commander in chief but also patiently listened to me drone on about Larry Kuter in general. As this is the second such manuscript he has been involved with, I owe him doubly.
I want to send a very special thanks to the entire team at the University Press of Kentucky, including the director, Leila Salisbury, my editor, Allison Webster, the marketing team of Jacqueline Wilson, Amy Harris, Fred McCormick, and Cameron Ludwick, my copyeditor, Joseph Brown, and Sarah Olson and Melissa Hammer. It was such a pleasure to work with this great press a second time.
Finally, to my family: Heather, Savannah, and Aspen, who were forced to do without me for the ten months I attended training. Your sacrifices make what I do possible. I hope this book is a demonstration that I used my free time wisely.