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 SRU Graduate, 'Tempered Steel' Biography to Lecture at Bailey Library 

 

SPOTLIGHT

3/13/2006

Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail: karl.schwab@sru.edu

SRU GRADUATE, AUTHOR OF ‘TEMPERED STEEL,’ BIOGRAPHY OF AIR FORCE HERO

TO LECTURE ON CAMPUS AS PART OF BAILEY LIBRARY ENCOUNTERS SERIES

     SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Charles Byler, a 1970 and 1971 Slippery Rock University graduate and co-author of “Tempered Steel: The Three Wars of Triple Air Force Cross Winner Jim Kasler” returns to campus March 29 to discuss his work as part of the Bailey Library Encounters series.

     The 3 p.m. event will be held in the library’s Special Collections Room and include remarks by Byler and a question and answer period that will include comments on his own Air Force military experience working with Col. Kasler. He is expected to detail the loading of nuclear bombs for a Cuban air base raid during what is now the famed “Cuban Missile Crisis.” Byler has said the famed 13 days truly marks the closest the U.S. ever came to full-scale nuclear war.

     A U.S. Air Force veteran who loaded megaton nuclear bombs, Byler served under then-Major James Kasler, the only three-war triple Air Force Cross, a combat decoration for valor, recipient in nation. The book, written with Dr. Perry D. Luckett, a retired 20-year-Air Force veteran communication officer and professor of English at the University of Colorado and the U.S. Air Force Academy, was published in 2005 by Potomac Books.

     Byler, a New Castle High School graduate, earned his undergraduate degree in education and his master’s degree in English at SRU. He later earned a second master’s degree in writing at Vermont College. Before retiring in 1999, he had taught English in Pennsylvania public schools for 27 years, and now makes his home in Boyertown.

     The book chronicles Kasler’s life from birth in 1926, to his entry into World War II at age 17 where he flew seven combat missions over Japan as a B-29 tail gunner. Kasler volunteered as a jet pilot in Korea and then volunteered five times for service in Vietnam, making him one of the first three airmen to serve consecutive overseas tours. He was shot down – taken prisoner for more than six years with Sen. John McCain -- in 1966 on his 91st mission, losing his first and only aircraft. McCain provided a comment on the book saying, “I was pleased to serve in the company of heroes…like James Kasler. They were the ones who sustained me.”

    In total, Kasler, who now lives in outside Indianapolis, holds some 76 military honors, including two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, nine Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and 11 Air Medals.

     Byler is also the author of “After Nam: A Police Story” self-published in 1993.

PN, PGN, WPN, PR, PT

     

BylerLecture.kes.doc

 

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