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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Feb 23, 2015

KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here wih Lee Trimble. Trimble had always known that his father, Captain Robert Trimble, was a WWII hero. Captain Trimble was a fighter bomber stationed in Britain and served with honor, flying 35 missions with the 493rd Bomb Group of the US Eighth Air Force. However, when Captain Trimble was eighty-six years old, he let slip to his son that there were things that happened in the war he never told his children about—incidents that happened while he was stationed in Russia. Lee then began questioning his father for details and was shocked to uncover a secret mission his father had been ordered to keep to himself for over sixty years.

In BEYOND THE CALL, the son of Robert Trimble finally shares his father’s legacy. Robert Trimble was finishing his final mission in England and was given an option by his superiors:  go home with the possibility of being called back to the front line or take a position on the Eastern Front in Poland to help ferry damaged planes to be repaired. Captain Trimble, in consultation with his wife, waiting for him back home in Pennsylvania, reluctantly agreed to the latter. However, there was more to this mission than what Robert was told.

Near the end of World War II, thousands of Allied ex-POWs were abandoned to wander the war-torn Eastern Front. In defiance of The Yalta Convention, which required that each Allied country take in and help shepherd POWs from all Allied nations to safety, the Russians viewed their own POWs as cowards and traitors, and saw captured soldiers from other countries as potential spies. The US repeatedly offered to help recover their own POWs, but were continuously refused by the Soviets. With relations between the tenuous allies strained, a plan was conceived for an undercover rescue mission.

In total secrecy, the Office of Strategic Service (the precursor to the CIA) chose an obscure American Air Force detachment stationed at a Ukrainian airfield; it would provide the base and the cover for the operation. Captain Robert Trimble began his mission to recover downed American planes in the Polish countryside, but was soon leading his covert mission by cover of night and during downtime. Dodging his Soviet escorts known as bird dogs, undercover agents of The NKVD (the Soviet secret police), Captain Trimble followed leads given to him in secret to search for stranded American POWs and get them to safety. Outfitted with state department credentials and a vest lined with money, Captain Trimble traveled through war-torn Poland, only to discover atrocities the likes had never been seen before.