Jim Noles, partner in the firm’s Birmingham, Ala., office, will speak to the pilots of the U.S. Air Force’s 20th Bombardment Squadron at the Mission 263 Memorial Flight Pre-Take Off Brief on Aug. 21, 2014, at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Mr. Noles’s speech is entitled "Mission to Moravska Ostrava," in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the unit’s raid on the German-occupied Czech city of Moravska Ostrava on Aug. 29, 1944.
The tale of the raid is told in Mr. Noles’ book, Mighty by Sacrifice: The Destruction of an American Bomber Squadron, August 29, 1944, published by the University of Alabama Press. The mission was the deadliest day in the unit's history. All seven B-17s flying the mission were shot down when they were ambushed in the air by nearly 80 German fighters. Forty airmen were killed, another 46 spent the rest of the war as POWs, and only four, with the aid of the OSS and anti-German partisans, managed to evade capture and escape to Allied lines.
Mr. Noles is an independent historian and dedicates a portion of his practice to legal issues associated with the regulation and protection of historical and cultural resources and the regulatory processes and requirements of the Alabama Historical Commission and various federal agencies. He has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama’s School of Law teaching on the law of historical and cultural resources. He is a also a member of Balch’s Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group where his practice focuses on the issues of environmental law, regulation, and litigation in Alabama.
Prior to attending law school and joining Balch & Bingham, Mr. Noles attended the U.S. Military Academy and served as an officer and aviator in the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker, Ala., and Fort Bragg, N.C.