Local author writes book about heroic uncle


Tyler Goucher, Reporter

By Tyler Goucher



“Unforgotten Hero” is an upcoming book about the life of Second Lieutenant Jimmy L. Escalle who disappeared during the Korean War and was listed as MIA.

Author Jim Escalle, a former Bakersfield College student, found out about his uncle at the age of 8 and became increasingly interested in anything related to World War II and the Korean War.

As a young child, Escalle spent most of his free time going to local air shows to watch various types of aircraft attempting aerial stunts.

These hobbies, as well as the discovery of his uncle’s past, drove Escalle to dig deeper into the disappearance of his uncle and the events that led to his demise.

After graduating from Fresno State in 1983 with a degree in Liberal Studies, Escalle began to heavily research the Korean War in an attempt to better understand what had happened during his uncle’s life.

“When I started my research,  I had mainly what my father and grandfather had told me, but around 2001, I came across this Korean War website created by a man who just happened to be in my uncle’s squadron,” Escalle said.

“I clicked on a link and a squadron picture appeared and it had the names of most of the pilots in his squadron in Korea. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw that picture for the first time in my life.”

He went on further to explain the lengthy research process he went through in order to acquire the amount of information needed to start writing his book.

“Over the next several months, mostly using the Internet, I contacted government agencies dealing with MIA issues, Air Force history offices, and anyone else I could locate. I also used the internet for tracking down a few of my uncle’s squadron mates from Korea, as well as some from his flight training days,”

Escalle said. “As more time went by, I finally received copies of my uncle’s military personnel record. I was fortunate in this case because a fire broke out at the St. Louis facility where these records are stored, permanently destroying the Air Force personnel records starting with names beginning with the letter H. The fire didn’t affect the records from A-G.”

When talking about his influences as a writer, Escalle gave most of the credit to his mother.

“I would say my biggest influence as a writer would first be my mother, who said during my elementary school years that I had writing talent and should put forth my best effort at whatever assignment I was given.”

He also gave credit to his middle school language arts teachers who ‘stressed the fundamentals in proper grammar, sentence structure, etc.’

Escalle has helped others with their research, including an Australian filmmaker who is working on a documentary about the Korean Air War, but currently is not writing anything, book or otherwise.

“Right now I’m focusing my full attention on letting people know about this book,” Escalle said.

Although the book’s release date is tentative, “Unforgotten Hero” has already received advanced praise from numerous authors, servicemen, and political figures.

“A heartfelt tribute to one of 34,000 mostly anonymous Americans who died defending freedom in South Korea. ‘Unforgotten Hero’ ends with a gut-wrenching revelation that should be known by everyone who wears his country’s uniform,”said Barrett Tillman, author of “Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945.”

“Jim Escalle’s book is a ‘must-read’ for all American patriots who want to learn of the sufferings, sacrifices and sadness of our brave heroes,”said John LeBoutillier a former congressman New York.

“Forgotten Hero” is expected to hit shelves on June 19, 2013.