"Burtness spent many years unearthing records and interviewing survivors, putting together a jigsaw puzzle of what happened early on the night of July 4, 1943." --Barney Brantingham, Santa Barbara Independent
About the Author
Robert A. "Bob" Burtness was born in Santa Barbara, California and attended local public schools before completing a bachelor's degree at Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College).
Upon graduation, he joined the air force and spent most of a five-year period as a supply and logistics officer in Greece and New Jersey. Following separation from the service in 1966, he attended graduate schools at what is now called Chico State University and California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo and earned an MA in English from the latter institution. He spent the next thirty years as a teacher in the Santa Barbara secondary school system, followed by flunking retirement and continuing as a substitute, mostly in private schools. Other activities include Boy Scout summer camp staff positions in nature, aquatics and bugling; a volunteer wilderness ranger with the forest service; volunteer projects with the Nature Conservancy on Santa Cruz Island; Commemorative Air Force oral history interviews; driving a miniature train at the Goleta Depot; toy train collecting; swimming, hiking and bicycling; and reading and writing.