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Decorated Russian commander expresses “everlasting appreciation” to America.

Colonel Maxim Chibisov’s US Navy-issued ID card used during Project Zebra, and kept as a keepsake the rest of his life

When Hitler destroyed 80 percent of the Soviet air force during the early days of World War II, the decorated Russian air hero, Colonel Maxim Chibisov, was hand-picked by Comrade Joseph Stalin to lead Project Zebra, a top-secret training mission in America with 300 Soviet airmen. from 1943 to 1945.

The mission which ran from 1943 to 1945, took shape when Stalin and Roosevelt met at Tehran, Iran. Project Zebra was headquartered in tiny Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and considered so culturally sensitive that details were not declassified until 2013.

During his time in America, Max worked side by side with his American counterparts to train the Russian airmen to operate a huge, state-of-the-art warplane plane called the PBN-Nomad. The plane, built in Philadelphia to Russian specs, was delivering in squadrons to the Atlantic and Pacific war theaters by multi-national crews of American, Russian and British officers.

Before Max left America, he wrote to the US Navy’s Vice Admiral Patrick Bellinger. “I shall take the greatest pleasure in telling the people of my country about my deep feeling of esteem and appreciation for America and its citizens.”

Historic photo taken at the outset of historic mission on the runway in Elizabeth City, NC

There are many more never told stories, personal moments, and over 200 rare documents and pictures in my book, Project Zebra. Rooosevelt and Staline’s Top Secret Mission to Train 300 Societ Airman in America. The interviews and trips around the world took almost four years to complete. I hope you enjoy reading this one-of-a-kind book as much as I did creating it.

DATE: Sep.26.2018 | CATEGORY: Archived