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National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Videographer Awarded Regional Emmy for 2020 Memphis Belle Documentary

Memphis Belle Regional Emmy Award

DAYTON, Ohio -- United States Air Force Civilian and National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs specialist Kenneth LaRock, was recently awarded a regional EMMY® for his contributions to the film “Memphis Belle: Her Final Mission.”(U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio --

United States Air Force Civilian and National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Specialist Kenneth LaRock was recently awarded a regional Emmy for his contributions to the film “Memphis Belle: Her Final Mission.”

The documentary, produced by Dayton Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) ThinkTV Senior Producer Richard Wonderling in Dayton, Ohio, marks the first time a museum employee received such an award.

The Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle aircraft and its crew became timeless symbols of the service and sacrifice of the heavy bomber crews and support personnel who helped defeat Nazi Germany during WWII. This famed aircraft was the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the United States after completing a record 25 missions over Europe.

In 2005, the Memphis Belle began its final mission, arriving at the Air Force’s national museum for a 13-year restoration. According to LaRock, restoration crews were exacting in the attention to detail required to replicate the Memphis Belle’s appearance when it completed its 25th mission.

“The museum crews honor the military veterans and their families with dynamic restorations,” said LaRock.

A special inspiration for LaRock was the 1944 documentary, ‘The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress,’ directed by William Wyler, which was included, in part, in the film.

“I documented the project by taking video and photos beginning in 2007, even before I joined the museum staff, and it was such a fantastic journey to see the aircraft transform from a pile of parts to a 'must see exhibit' in our WWII Gallery,” LaRock said. “I simply just wanted to help carry on Wyler’s story.”

Wonderling wrote, produced and directed the documentary, featuring combat diaries with unflinching first-hand accounts of some of the crew’s most dangerous missions, along with curator and restoration crew interviews, and LaRock’s footage.

"I was completely unaware that behind the scenes footage was being recorded by anyone," said Wondering, "Without the footage provided by the museum we would have only been able to tell the historic story from WWII and not the modern-day restoration."

According to LaRock, it was moving to see Wonderling weave his footage into the documentary in such a beautiful way.  “Receiving this Emmy is something that I will always treasure,” he said.

“I'm completely humbled by this award and so proud of everyone on the museum and Think TV teams,” said LaRock. "I’d like to thank and congratulate Richard Wonderling, Richard Nordstrom, Zach Kramer, Dan Nachtrab and the entire team of talented creatives at the station on their 57th Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy® Award."

Footage from “Memphis Belle: Her Final Mission” can be viewed at https://thinktv.org/memphis-belle-the-final-mission/.

The Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and related media and to the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. This chapter serves 13 markets throughout s 4-state region: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia that is a non-profit organization affiliated with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). https://ohiovalleyemmy.org/ 

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles, and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year thousands of visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.    

NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Lisa Riley at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.