Not A Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor
This is the story of Operation Anaconda. The book covers it from its first planning stages in January 2002, through its conclusion in early March 2002. Up to this point, the war in Afghanistan had been conducted mainly by US Special Forces troops working with various Afghanistan groups and calling in US air assets. Anaconda was the first operation to involve large scale use of regular US forces. In this case elements of the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division. The first third of the book covers the planning and the background of the key players. This is fairly dry, but interesting and informative on why and how the fog of war effected the operation. Intelligence said that there were 200-250 Al Qaeda fighters in the intended AO. The plan was for Afghan forces, with Special Forces ‘advisers’ to confront the enemy, with ‘escape routes’ to be blocked by Afghan forces and elements of the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne. The motto, ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy’ is often referenced in various forms in this book. There were a lot more than 250 AQ fighters, estimates put it at 800 or more. They opened up the US forces almost immediately after they got out their helicopters with small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars, and in some cases artillery. The US forces responded with much more accurate fire and air strikes. Lots and lots of air strikes. From the CIA’s armed Predator drones to B-52s dropping JDAM bombs. The most effective though were the Apache helicopters, which got close enough to see the enemy and pour firepower right were it was needed. The fighting continued much longer than expected, in areas were it wasn’t expected, from a well dug in, and well supplied enemy force. Many of which got too see Allah personally. A well written book about a major operation that dispelled the common notion in early 2002, that the war in Afghanistan was almost over.
Filed under: Global War on Islamofascism, Our Dear Leader, Politics, US Military
“The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
— Robert Gates, former Obama administration Secretary of Defense on our Dear Leader‘s attitude toward Afghanistan.
Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior by Rorke Denver
Memorial Day Special. Rorke Denver was one of the actual Navy SEALs who starred in the movie Act of Valor. He is a combat vet, having lead a SEAL team in Iraq and has been of of the officers in charge of SEAL Training. An interesting book that goes into how the program molds highly motivated men at the peak of physical conditioning into highly skilled special operators.
Filed under: Global War on Islamofascism, Monday Book Pick, US Military
Scope of Justice by Michael Z. Williamson
The first of MZW’s MilFic Sniper series. The story of two US Army snipers taking on a dangerous mission in Pakistan to take out a high ranking al Qaeda member. It’s full of SNAFU, FUBAR and TARFU. In other words a good description of a military mission. An engaging and interesting read.
Filed under: American History, Monday Book Pick, US Military
No Easy Day by Mark Owen & Kevin Maurer
This is an autobiography of a US Navy SEAL, and member of DEVGRU, who took part in Operation Neptune Spear. That was the mission where Osama bin Laden died of acute lead poisoning, when one of the SEALs shot him in the head. It is a very stright foward book that tells the story of how Mark Owen (not his real name) trained and deployed prior to the mission, as well as the boots on the ground perspective of how the operation took place. It is not a political book, the authors don’t have political axes to grind. They do make an honest assesment of VP Joe Biden though. A good and honest read. Well worth the money and time invested.
Eyes of the Hammer (The Green Beret Series) by Bob Mayer
Fast paced military fiction set the 1980s with that late 80s Golden Age of Tom Clancy Techno Thrillers feel. In this case it’s Columbian drug lords being targeted by Green Berets and the rest of the Special Operations Command. The Drug Lords have their moments, but they don’t fair well against in the long run against the U.S. Military. A good read with Good Guys and Bad Guys, and most of the Bad Guys get what is coming to them. There are the standard themes running through that you can pick up in other Military Fiction, typically written by former enlisted or NCOs, including the concept that the only good officers are mavericks.
In honor of D-Day, which occurred on this day in 1944, here is a speech given by President Ronald Reagan at Normandy.
Update: The official US Army D-Day page.
Act of Valor by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi
The Memorial Day edition of the Monday Book Pick is the book version of the movie Act of Valor. Filmed with real Navy SEALs playing Navy SEALs, the story follows a SEAL team on a series of missions that starts with the rescue of a DEA agent being tourtured by drug dealers. We’re not talking faux tourture like water boarding either. Intelligence gathered on that mission puts them on the trail of a terrorist planning on bringing death and destruction to America. Multiple reviews by combat vets state that this is one of the most realistic military movies they have ever seen.
SEAL Team Six: The Novel by Chuck Dixon
A nice action novel about SEALs in the unit formerly known as SEAL Team Six. Here they are hunting Islamic terrorists who are finding and grooming “home grown” terrorists. It’s not about the fancy gear, or the politics behind the scenes, it’s about Good Guys finding and killing Bad Guys. For a $0.99 Kindle ebook, it certainly delivers value for your money. When I finished it, I was happy to find out it was the first in a planned series.