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New monument to celebrate an important but virtually unknown Russian-American top-secret World War Two mission in North Carolina

Bronze cast of new monument designed and produced by Russian artists

Imagine the Russian Government building an 18-foot tall bronze monument in a North Carolina park to thank America for helping Russia survive as a country and a culture…

Once upon a time, 72 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt and Premier Joseph Stalin agreed on the largest Soviet-US military mission to ever take place on U.S. soil. The top-secret World War II mission, only recently declassified, included production of 185 huge, state-of-the-art amphibious warplanes in Philadelphia and training of over 300 Soviet airmen in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, by 11 specially selected Naval air officers.

According to the training mission’s last living survivor, then Navy Lieutenant Gregory Gagarin, “It was simply amazing that we pulled off the 18-month mission without a single media leak.” Recently discovered documents also indicate that despite major differences in culture and language, the men came to trust and respect each other. Some became life-long friends. Fortunately, Gagarin, the son of a Russian aristocrat, and a graduate of MIT, sensed the historic nature of the mission. “The first time I stood in front of one of those giant flying boats surrounded by 300 Soviet officers, I realized my kids and grandchildren would never believe what happened unless there was documentation.”

Critically-acclaimed author M.G. Crisci, learned of Gagarin, and began an two-year search to collect interviews, insights, pictures, and other documentation. In the end, Crisci created the first book ever written about the mission. Project Zebra. Stalin and Roosevelt’s Top-Secret Mission to Train 300 Soviet Airmen in America. (Orca Publishing USA, $32.95, hardcover, 354 pp and 200+ photographs “As I was in the final stages of the book, fate stepped in,” said Crisci. The Russian Government had long wanted to create a lasting tribute to the cross-cultural mission. They approached the Mayor of Elizabeth City, the Honorable Joseph Peel in mid-2017. Some months later, the City Council agreed to install the proposed monument with the faces of an American, Russian and British soldier standing over a plane replica. The completed monument is expected to be ready for installation by late 2018.

Two respected Washington DC cross-cultural organizations, the Eurasia Center Worldwide and the American-Russian Cultural Foundation, call the book, “a lesson for future generations” and “an unknown heroic memoir in US-Soviet relations that serves as a historic signpost.”

Manhattan-born M.G. Crisci ( is the author of ten books based on true stories or real events in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and romance. His most recent book, The Salad Oil King. An American Tale of Greed Gone Mad (Orca Publishing USA), has been hailed by critics as an
“American crime classic spun by a master story-teller.” Recently, Crisci, a 22-time selectee to Who’s Who in the World, received the Albert Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for his business, literary, and cultural contributions (

DATE: Jan.10.2018 | CATEGORY: | COMMENTS: 0