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Sunday, April 25, 2010

William Bender, Jr.

Tokyo Intrigue by William Bender Jr. (Digit Books D144, Apr 1958)
Women were their bait!

Major Mark Talbot, USAF, arrived in Tokyo prepared to put up a one-man fight against a vicious and deadly enemy...
__On the surface the job wasn't much; just a little public relations task and the smoothing of some ruffled feathers...
__But underneath the red-tape lay coiled the deadly snake that was shooting its poison into the heart of the Far East!
I've only found a little about Bender, mostly from an article he wrote. Major William Bender Jr., AFRes, born in 1916, was a Staff Information Officer for the Aeronautical Systems Division (Part 1, Reserve) of the AFSC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In civilian life he was a Public Information Officer for the University of Michigan's health science schools and hospital and was a President of the International Academy of Hospital Public Relations.

During World War II he served as celestial navigation instructor and in the Public Relations Office for Operation Crossroads. Recalled to active duty in 1950, he became OIC, Radio Section, Hq FEAT-PIO, and in July 1951 was amongst the first AF information officers assigned to the Munsan Press Camp covering the start of negotiations with the CCF and NKPA at Kaesong.

Major Bender also wrote numerous articles, short stories and a single novel. Tonkyo Intrigue was originally published in the USA by Ace Books in 1956. In the novel, Bender noted that...
As a captain in the U.S. Air Force public-information office in Tokyo, I was assigned to cover the cease-fire negotiations with the Chinese Communist Forces and the North Korean People's Army at the initial meetings at Kaesong. There I had a chance for conversation with Communist propagandists. Slowly I begame aware that the Reds had all the necessary foibles to become the world's prize suckers for a propagandistic campaign. but, as it happens, our Air Force does not work that way. We are officially dedicated to truth and accuracy.
__But I began wondering, what if there was a guy bold enough to sidestep the official channels? He would have to be gutsy, and an outstanding egoist, probably; an operator. Amid these reflections, Major Talbot began to take shape... Needless to add, the novel that developed is strictly a product of my imagination.
Although I've not found a way to confirm it beyond doubt, I believe Bender was born 25 December 1916 and died 15 October 2004. He was last known to be living in Monroe, Michigan.

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