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July 17, 2008

Chardkoff's book highlights Selman Field and over 15,000 WWII cadets

ULM history professor Richard B. Chardkoff's novel is hot off the presses, honoring over 15,000 cadets who underwent pre-flight and advanced bomber navigator training at Selman Field in Monroe, the only all-inclusive navigational training facility in the United States during WWII.

Chardkoff's novel, titled "The Fly Boy Heroes of Selman Field," recounts the history of the base from its origins during World War II's opening days until its deactivation in 1947. The work details the demanding curriculum endured by the cadets; training included academic as well as physical challenges.

Chardkoff means for the book to honor "the over 15,000 men who trained at Selman Field, including the 1,480 casualties. Sadly, many of these men never had the opportunity to marry, have children, or grow old gracefully. Their ultimate sacrifice serves as a lasting legacy to those of us enjoying freedom today."

He continued that, "while it is highly unlikely the individual actions of these men would be cited in history books, they nevertheless deserve to have their deeds recorded. With each passing year, World War II becomes even more remote in public memory. Yet future generations should be aware of the role the Selman Field navigators played in determining the war's outcome."

Stories contained within feature many of the cadets who passed through the program and went on to serve heroically in bomber commands throughout the European and Pacific theaters. According to the book profile, "it also describes how the people of northeast Louisiana opened both their homes and hearts to the airmen."

"The Fly Boy Heroes of Selman Field," published by the Center for Louisiana Studies, is available locally at Windows A Bookshop or directly from Chardkoff, who may be reached at 318-342-1540 or at The novel is also available through and other retail booksellers.

More about Chardkoff:
Chardkoff, major advisor of the ULM General Studies Program, is the L.M. McKneely Endowed Professor in the Humanities at the university, where he has instructed for over three decades. He teaches courses in American and Latin American history.

He is also the author of the critically acclaimed "Sol's Story," an account of Holcaust survivor and Monroe businessman Sol Rosenberg.
Chardkoff completed his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University and received his master's degree and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

He is the author of numerous articles which have appeared in historical publications, presented papers at professional conferences, and is the recipient of several teaching awards and Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities project grants. He earned the ULM Research Fellowship to Poland and a Fulbright Fellowship to Argentina. Chardkoff has also served on the Fulbright National Screening Committee for the Caribbean/Central America.

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