Hays, Otis, Jr. 1915–
Hays, Otis, Jr. 1915–
PERSONAL: Born 1915.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Alaska Press, P.O. Box 756240, 104 Eielson Bldg., Fairbanks, AK 99775-6240.
CAREER: U.S. Army, Alaska Defense Command, intelligence staff officer, 1943–44, psychological warfare officer in Far East and Pentagon, 1951–65; University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, professor of journalism; U.S. Information Agency, director of Indo-China affairs, 1966–72.
Home from Siberia: The Secret Odysseys of Interned American Airmen in World War II ("Texas A&M Military History" series), Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1990.
The Alaska-Siberia Connection: The World War II Air Route ("Texas A&M Military History" series), Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1996.
Alaska's Hidden Wars: Secret Campaigns on the North Pacific Rim, University of Alaska Press (Fairbanks, AK), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Otis Hays, Jr., served as a staff officer of the U.S. Army's Alaska Defense Command during World War II. One of his books on military history, The Alaska-Siberia Connection: The World War II Air Route, documents the collaboration between the United States and Russia in which lend-lease aircraft were ferried 1,900 miles from Great Falls, Montana to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they were then handed over to Russian pilots who flew another 3,500 miles to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. Hays writes of the high altitudes at which these planes were flown, requiring the pilots to wear oxygen masks in their unheated cockpits, and of the smoke from summer wildfires and the fog and clouds of winter weather that made navigation difficult. Nearly 8,000 bombers, transports, fighters, and trainers made the trip on the Alaska-Siberia Air Ferry Route (ALSIB) between September 1, 1942 and September 2, 1945, piloted by brave men and women, including a large number of Soviet women. Hays writes that 133 planes were lost between Great Falls and Fairbanks alone. The figures for the Soviet losses are lower, but they may have been understated. Murray Lundberg, reviewing the book for the Explore North Web site, called The Alaska-Siberia Connection a "reference volume that adds military/political information to other books about this aspect of northern history."
Otis is also the author of Alaska's Hidden Wars: Secret Campaigns on the North Pacific Rim, a collection of essays on some lesser-known occurrences of World War II. Booklist reviewer Roland Green noted that the work covers events such as the relocation of Japanese Americans from Alaska to internment camps. Green called the book "a by-no-means dull or negligible regional contribution to WWII history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2004, Roland Green, review of Alaska's Hidden Wars: Secret Campaigns on the North Pacific Rim, p. 945.
Explore North, http://www.explorenorth.com/ (November 13, 2005), Murray Lundberg, review of The Alaska-Siberia Connection: The World War II Air Route.