Bob Bergin, The Author

Monique and Bob in China

Bob Bergin, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer, wrote on the history of aviation in Southeast Asia and China, and on military and intelligence operations in the China-Burma-India theater of World War II.

As a Foreign Service officer and Southeast Asia specialist, he served in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.  He also served in South Africa and Kenya and spent two years in Japan.

After the Foreign Service, Bob and his wife Monique did what the characters in his adventure novels do – dealt in the art and antiques of Southeast Asia and India at Banana Tree, their shop in Alexandria, Va.

Monique shared his interest in Asia.  Before opening Banana Tree, she apprenticed with one of Bangkok’s major antiques dealers. Bob and Monique traveled to Asia several times a year to hunt the treasures they sold

Their long relationships with craftsmen, artists, and dealers, and their trained eye, made Banana Tree a favorite of a loyal clientele and designers in the Washington, D.C. area.  They have been featured in the Washington Post, and Architectural Digest and other publications.

When not hunting art treasures, Bob pursued other interest in Asia. He worked closely with Thailand’s Foundation for the Preservation and Development of Thai Aircraft that restores and flies’ aircraft that have had a role in Thailand’s history and has worked with groups involved with the recovery of World War II aircraft in China.

Bob maintained a special interest in the American Volunteer Group (AVG) “Flying Tigers”, one of the most effective and colorful combat units in the history of aerial warfare.

His identification of aircraft wreckage found in a remote area of North Thailand as one of the original P-40s sent to the AVG in Burma led to a close relationship with the AVG Flying Tiger Association and surviving AVG pilots.  The wreckage, now on display at the Royal Thai Air Force airbase at Chiang Mai is the only remaining relic of the 100 original AVG P-40s sent to Burma in 1941.

Bob’s interviews and articles about the exploits of the AVG and many other aspects of aviation history in China and Southeast Asia have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and Asia.

In recent years, his writing interests expanded to include OSS and Free Thai operations.  On visits to China, he pursued interests in World War II aviation and in the Peoples’ Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).  He was the first American writer to be given interviews with senior PLAAF combat pilots, including a leading MiG-15 ace, and a PLAAF attack pilot involved with China’s nuclear program who became the pilot to drop China’s first H-Bomb.