Review of “Flying with the Flak Pak” by Kenny Kemp
When I went to interview awa rd wi n ni ng autho r, lawyer and pi lot Kenny Kemp, I don’t know what I expected, but I left after an hour of great conversation with a new appreciation for those who are preserving the stories of WWII. I love books about histor y and “Flying with the Flak Pak: A Pacif ic War Scrapbook” is a great one.
Kemp has wr it ten a Pacif ic War Scrapbook f i l led with more t han 1,000 photos and illust rations in a readable format. The 266 page book is a tribute to his father’s service as a pilot f lying 15 bombing missions. His father’s story is also the story of so many young men who enlisted and served courageously.
The author writes, “Tens of thousands of boys across Amer ica rush to enl i s t , including O. C. Kemp. So desper at e i s the Army’s need for pilots that within months he is given command of the worlds’ most advanced bomber: the B- 24 Liberator, an aircraft with just one purpose: take the war to the Japanese homeland.”
Kemp wrote the book after inherit ing an overwhelming amount of WWII memorabilia after his mother passed away. His father had been gone for more than 20 years.
Kemp recalled, “My sisters were i nteres ted i n t he family chi n a , paintings and furniture but I only wanted dad’s WWII things.”
He s p r ead out a c ol lect ion of mus t y pape r s , s e r vice p a t ches , f l ight gear, Japanese money, and a container of pilot’s wings on the t able and contempl a ted the t ask of cataloging so much stuf f. His dad had been a “pack rat” and had saved ever ything f rom his pa s t . What star ted as an idea to build a shadow box became a book project that took more than a year to f inish.
Like many veterans of “The Greatest Generat ion”, O. C. Kemp had not shared much with his fami ly about being in the Army Ai r Force. One of the reasons his son Kenny has felt so strongly that this book needed to be published, was a desire to tell the story these airmen have been reluctant to share.
“I also knew people of my generation knew lit tle about the Pacif ic War between the landmark events of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Our fathers may have talked about the War- mos t didn’t- but we hal f- l istened with one ear. The TV was on and dad was droning on again about the Japs.”
Kenny Kemp wi l l speak at the Spr ingvi l le/ Spanish Fork Ai rpor t on Wednesday, Apr i l 9th at 7: 00 pm in the Diamond Flight Center Hangar 49. He will show a movie he made with photos from the book and be available to sign copies of “Flying with the Flak Pak”. For more information on the f ree event call Diamond Flight Center 801471- 1304. Author Kenny Kemp can be reached at www. kennykemp. com or www. f lyingwiththef lakpak. com.