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Writers Inspiring Change Featured Book: The B-17 Tomahawk Warrior: A WWII Final Honor

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

The Tomahawk Warriors, a crew of nine who perished in a 1944 B-17 Flying Fortress crash in England, was a mystery of WWII until explained in this book. It would have lain in partial obscurity if it were not for the author’s initial involuntary involvement. As a child, he witnessed what would become a dogged determination in his lifetime later to tell this story. As the faint light of dawn was breaking the morning of August 12, 1944, a crippled American B-17 bomber flew perilously close over the roof of the author's house in Southern England. Around 30 seconds later, it crashed and exploded. In 2016, the author, David E. Huntley, after almost a lifetime, came across the story of the crew known as the 'Tomahawk Warriors' and recognized it as the accident he had witnessed as a child.

He started his own research and began asking himself many questions about the disaster. How did this plane crash and why, particularly in that location? For what reason was the plane misnamed 'The Tomahawk Warrior' through all those years? What strange circumstance led the author to come into possession of the navigator's diary that no one knew even existed? Why did one airman not take his place on board that day and become a part of the 'missing airman' legend?

Despite the coincidence that the plane of the 'Tomahawk Warriors' and the plane of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. crashed on the same day; Huntley revealed a further significant link between them. This incident adds a further little-known aspect about the Kennedy's in American history.

Based on Declassified Secret Operational Records, analysis of other official and unofficial records, the author's personal observations on the day of the accident, and his pursuit of other facts, those mysteries became fully resolved. This story provides a distinct understanding of the immense courage those young 20 to 26-year-old American airmen displayed. Mission after mission, they climbed aboard their craft and carried out their respective duties at 28,000 ft in sub-zero temperatures, hoping their electric-heated protective clothing would not short out during the 9 to 10-hour flight. They prayed that flak and enemy fighters would give them that 70 percent chance of getting back home.

The book offers vivid descriptions of those who got shot down, baled out, and died or got captured to spend the rest of the war as POWs. The narrative places its emphasis on the lives of the heroes who served in WWII and their loved ones who have grown up in their shadows. He obtained a posthumous honor to the deceased crew, as well as a Permanent Commemorative Marker, and brought relief and closure to the descendants’ relatives. This is not a post-mortem of wartime machinery, but a window into the lives of some heroes who sacrificed themselves for a cause, as well as a personal insight into the familial relationships with their loved ones at home. The souls of the Tomahawk Warrior crew will last forever in a peaceful slumber, but not as dismembered bodies lost in the universe of the forgotten.

The Foreword of 3 Pages by Brigadier-General Mitchell A. Hanson with full authorization by the US Air Force HQ Public Affairs Office, said the author's research, investigation, historical references, and personal accounts are unlike anything I ever saw or read previously. His passion for uncovering the real story, finding the data behind the tales, and detailing the history of the crew members and their families is unmatched.

Major Lucky Luckadoo, US Air Force (Ret) B17 combat pilot of WWII with the Bloody One Hundredth Bomb Group said, "This book represents a Herculean effort. Huntley’s unrelenting pursuit of the facts and circumstances of this incident and its impact upon the friends and relatives of this heroic crew is highly commendable and rewarding."

Lee Anne Bradley, Historian for the 398th Bomb Group. "A brilliantly investigated account of the crew’s fateful last day."

Other books by this author

About David E. Huntley

A short interview with Mr. Huntley

iWIC: Tell us what inspired you to write.

As a survivor of the London blitz and my late wife who lived under Nazi occupation in France, I began writing my first post WWII historical novel in 2012 as I had retired from more than 60 years of business. My book Deathwatch Beetle based on true events and personal observation, continues to be a successful book and is part of my regular talks and presentations about WWII.

My second book is a non-fiction account of an American bomber I saw crash in England in 1944. I witnessed the body parts of the crew being retrieved at the crash site. An image which remained with me all my life. The foreword to my book is by Brigadier-General Mitchell A. Hanson, a currently serving US Air Force general and with the full authority of the US Air Force HQ, Public Affairs Office. You can see a wider description on the Amazon book page The paperback when published in the next couple of weeks will have extensive Footnotes on each page and a full 7-Page Index for easy reference. I want this book to be a public library staple.

iWIC: What inspired your book?

The plane's crew saved my life by approximately 30 to 40 seconds and I have dedicated my spare time and my books to those who gave their lives or who served in WWII. I was awarded the Americanism Medal last year for my humanitarian work at the DAR National State Defense Banquet in Houston Texas.

iWIC: What are you aspiring to accomplish as a writer?

To be recognized as someone who writes with compassion and with an intense desire to write with as much accuracy as possible.

More about the author

David E. Huntley is a semi-retired businessman and widower who was married to his late French-born wife Sophie for 62 years and lives in Dallas Texas. David has 4 children and 7 grandchildren. David E Huntley was born in London, England, and survived the London Blitz in World War II. His late wife Sophie lived under German occupation in France. As an engineer, he worked in the UK aircraft industry before moving to Africa in the fifties.

After starting and building two companies, Mr. Huntley sold his business interests in Africa, and in 1978 moved to the USA. He formed Huntley Associates(Dallas) Inc., in 1979, to conduct business as international corporate consultants. These activities include a division that is engaged in executive recruiting and contract engineering for the hi-tech industry.

The consulting division provides local and overseas clients with global strategies in international markets and a specialized educational course, (Project J.A.P.A.N.), for company executives and educational institutions, on how to negotiate and do business with the Japanese.

Huntley Associates(Dallas), Inc., was retained as consultants to one of Japan's largest groups, Sumitomo Corporation for fourteen years in succession. They assisted the company's local U.S. offices to negotiate distribution, joint ventures, and licensing agreements with American companies whose products had export potential to the Japanese market.

He has been a guest speaker at various forums including a World Marketing Conference in Houston in 1984. He has been a guest speaker at the University of Texas in Arlington that hosts the American Enterprise Institute and as a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Dallas World Cup '94 Soccer effort.

David Huntley was a co-founder and a member of the original steering committee of the British-American Commerce Association of North Texas. He retired from the Board of Directors in 2001 after serving for 17 years since its inception in 1984, in various capacities including Chairman of the Executive Committee, and as a past President of the organization.

He was awarded an Honorary Life membership to the organization, and to its Board of Directors in recognition of his services for the promotion of British and American business interests in North Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth region in particular.

Mr. Huntley in his capacity as President of the British-American Commerce Association of North Texas in 1990, organized an event that brought Mr. John Cleese, the TV and film actor to Dallas.

The monetary proceeds of this event were presented by Mr. Huntley to the Chairman of the World Cup Soccer Dallas '94 Steering Committee, at City Hall in the presence of the then Mayor, the late Annette Strauss.

This seed money was the first raised by any business organization in Dallas and helped the city to bid and win as a major host site and main broadcast center for the 1994 World Cup Soccer.

In 1996 Mr. Huntley was chosen as an expert on Japanese/American trade negotiations to appear on a panel (Strategic Alliances) with Marjory Searing , U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Japan. The panel was part of the "Sun & Star" three months business and cultural exchange program in Texas sponsored by the Japanese government, the State of Texas, and city governments.

He has also appeared on several occasions as a guest panelist on Public Television. He was a guest on the nationally syndicated McCuistion show, where Mr. Huntley was invited to participate in a discussion on Japanese/American business issues. Other panelists on the show were senior executives of two major American corporations together with the Consul-General of Japan and a professor of Asian business at Southern Methodist University.

His last appearance on the McCuistion Show was June 20th, 2004 entitled, "Outsourcing: Lost Jobs or Positive Free Trade?" Fellow guest panelists included a Senior Economist from the Federal Reserve Bank, and an Executive Council Member of the AFL-CIO from Washington D.C.

2005, Mr. Huntley was honored with an appointment to the American Advisory Board of The Historical Royal Palaces (HRP) of the United Kingdom.

He assisted the HRP in identifying American patrons willing to help the charity in its mission of the maintenance care, conservation, and presentation to the public of the unoccupied royal palaces- HM Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House at Whitehall and Kew Palace with Queen Charlotte's Cottage.

Mr. Huntley assisted in bringing the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester to Dallas for a Gala Dinner on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces.

In March 2010 he was appointed a Director of Historic Royal Palaces, Inc., and until his recent retirement in early 2013, he continued to raise awareness of the charity in the United States through lectures and fundraising.

In 2013 Mr. Huntley wrote the best-selling book, "Deathwatch Beetle: An Historical Post-WWII Spy Thriller" which was endorsed by high-level military & intelligence sources. The book was a finalist in the 2015 Chanticleer International Chaucer Book Awards. The Jewish War Veterans Group awarded Mr. Huntley a Certificate of Appreciation for the narrative in the book concerning the Nazis' use of slave labor.

As an author, Mr. Huntley is a popular speaker about his and his late wife's experiences in WWII.

In March 2022, Mr. Huntley was honored at a State National Defense Banquet in Houston Texas with the award by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Americanism Medal for 2021.

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