Norwich Announces Winner of 2023 Colby Military Writers’ Award

By Saraa Kami, NU Director of Communications

Norwich announced today that it has selected a recipient for its 2023 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award, author Charles E. Stanley Jr.

Author Charles E. Stanley, Jr

Norwich University presents the award, now in its 24th year, annually to a first solo work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs.

Stanley’s was selected for his book, Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines.

In Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines, Charles Stanley Jr., unveils the shocking true story of his father, Charles Stanley-and the eighteen brave soldiers that he served alongside. Drawing on over twenty years of research, dozens of interviews, and previously unpublished letters, diaries, and memoirs written by the airmen, Stanley recounts the deadly journey across the blizzard-swept Dinaric Alps during the worst winter of the Twentieth Century-and the heroic men who fought impossible odds to keep their brothers in arms alive.

For Stanley, the book was about unveiling these amazing hidden figures and their extraordinary contribution to our country.

"It is an honor to be named as this year's Colby Award recipient and to join the distinguished ranks of the historians who have received this distinction in the past. When I decided to write the book, I knew I had discovered a great story about a group of ordinary men who performed extraordinary deeds during World War II, “continued Stanley. “I could only hope that the book would be worthy of them and their story. This award helps to confirm that the Lost Airmen succeeds in that effort. I feel that by honoring the book you are also honoring them, and that means a great deal to me."

Stanley holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina. Now retired, Stanley has held several important positions in the New York State government. Most notably, he helped coordinate the State’s response to the 9-11 World Trade Center disaster as an aide to Governor George Pataki. He has also taught graduate-level courses at Marist College.

Colby Award winners receive a $5,000 author honorarium provided through the generosity of the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Stanley will be formally presented with his award and honorarium during the Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium, Oct. 10 through Oct. 11, 2023, at the university’s Northfield, Vermont, campus.

Finalists for the 2023 Colby Award included The Black Joke: The True Story of One British Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade, by A.E. Rooks and Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860-1880, by Evan C. Rothera.

For Alex Kershaw, Chair, William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award Selection Committee, Stanley’s book presents a poignant recount of World War II and the men who so bravely fought in it.

"The ‘Lost Airmen’ is an important addition to the history of World War II, brilliantly researched and fluently told,” said Kershaw.

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About the Colby Award
The Colby Award, named for the late ambassador and former CIA director William E. Colby, began at Norwich University in 1999. Previous Colby Award recipients include Paul Scharre, Nisid Hajari, Thomas McKenna, James Bradley, Nathaniel Fick, Jack Jacobs, Dexter Filkins, Marcus Luttrell, John Glusman, Karl Marlantes, Adam Higginbotham, Steven Sodergren and Wesley Morgan.

About the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library aims to increase the public’s understanding of military history, military affairs and national security by providing a forum for the study and exploration of our military - past, present, and future - with a specific focus on their stories, sacrifices, and values. With national and global reach, these spaces and events aim to share the stories of those who served and their contributions as citizen soldiers, helping citizens everywhere appreciate the relationship between the armed forces and the civilians whose freedoms they protect. A non-governmental, non-partisan organization, the Museum & Library features diverse collections, scholarly initiatives, and public programs from its flagship center in downtown Chicago to its world-class research center and park currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin. Each year, the Museum & Library awards the prestigious Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing to recognize a living author who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of military history including military affairs.

About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Captain Alden Partridge and is the United States’ oldest private military college. Norwich is one of our nation's six Senior Military Colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). 

Media contacts:
Saraa Kami
Director of Communications

Scott Manning
Colby Awards

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