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Wadena writer is 2012 Minnesota Aviation Writer of the Year

Wadena's Paul M. Sailer is a World War II aviation historian. Growing up in a military family, Sailer recalled browsing his father's scrapbooks and learning of the dramatic flying career of fellow Minnesotan, Donald Beerbower from Hill City, who became one of Minnesota's top flying aces.

Following the footsteps of Beerbower, Sailer joined the Army after earning a history degree from Moorhead State College. He served in the Army's 20th Engineering Brigade in Vietnam, flying the OH-58A Kiowa helicopter in combat. After the war, he decided to research and write about his hero, Beerbower.

Sailer's award-winning book, "The Oranges Are Sweet," details the life and military career of Beerbower who was credited with 15.5 enemy aircraft destroyed and later died during a ground attack mission in Rheims, France in 1944. The book is well-researched, written and illustrated. It is available from Sailer and various bookstores around the state. The writing award is conferred yearly by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame to an aviation writer from Minnesota who is judged best of the best in the aviation field.