Thomas Coffey; Journalist and Military Writer
Thomas M. Coffey, 78, a journalist and author on military issues. Born in Aberdeen, S.D., and reared in Madison, Wis., Coffey was educated at the University of Wisconsin and at the National University in Dublin, Ireland. He was an Army Air Corps pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II and later wrote or collaborated on such books as “Agony at Easter” about the Irish Easter Rebellion, “Imperial Tragedy” about World War II from inside Japan, and “Decision Over Schweinfurt” about American bombing strategy during the war. He also worked on the book “Lion by the Tail” about the Italian-Ethiopian conflicts preceding the war and wrote the biographies “Hap” about Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold and “Iron Eagle” about Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMay. In recent years, Coffey had collaborated on the memoirs of Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, “Best Seat in the House,” and Stanley Kramer, “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Coffey began his writing career as film and drama critic for the Los Angeles Mirror, the now-defunct sister paper of The Times, and then wrote television news and commentary. On Feb. 24 in Santa Monica after suffering from cancer.