Predator: The Remote-Control Air War Over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story

A Great Story

Wow! This is one well-written book. The story is well told. The book is surprisingly interesting exceeding my expectations.

Flying Airplanes From Half a World Away

My thought going in is a book about flying remote control airplanes from half a world away? No way this could be interesting. What I found was a compelling story that kept my interest and had me viewing modern warfare through a new set of eyes … and I am a former US Army officer! The book will make an amazing movie.

 

You travel with Gen-X author Matt Martin from his graduation at Purdue University and commissioning as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force through his navigator training and his RC-135 crew experience. We see how his passion to pilot an aircraft fly leads him to apply for the Predator.

The Stories Are Amazing

The stories are amazing. I laughed when his growing up on a farm experience lead him to name the suspicious object between the two builds as a manure pile that was generating heat. The chases of the green Toyota was both educational and spellbinding. The story of the rocket man and their motivation to get the bad guys had me turning each page.

 

I loved the chapter with the Peugeot chase and surveillance, especially with the Abrams Tank pointing its main gun at the driver. In another chapter, I was amazed when they blew off the front end of the vehicle with the machine gun and gunner surviving. The story of the double air strike’s success in taking out the mortar crew made me glad I am no longer a mortar platoon leader as I was 40 years ago!

Warfare Has Changed

I enjoyed the human side of the stories in the book. You realize how warfare has changed. You realize people go to war for their shift and then go home at the end of their workday. You learn how both restrictive the rules were on the US and yet see how hard we work to protect the innocent.

Helps Explain Both Iraq and Afghanistan

Lt. Col. Martin gives some of the best historical backgrounds on the conflict I have read. It helps explain both Iraq and Afghanistan. He also looks at the morality of war in a very personal way that helps show the human side of our military. The book deserves more attention as it is a significant contribution to the literature of modern warfare.

 

When I first received the book to review my first thought was we are too close to the war. I highly recommend the book giving it five out of five stars.

 

You will not be disappointed when you read “Predator: The Remote-Control Air War Over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story” by Matt J. Martin.

A Few Typos

The book has a few typos that a forward explains. They did not impact my enjoyment of the book. It looks like “quarters” being replaced with “Bobby” … so you have the word “headBobby” instead of headquarters a few times as well a “quarters” being replaced with “Bobby.” It was no big deal. Well done!

Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq by Lt. Col. R. Alan King

While serving as a senior civil-military advisor in Baghdad, U.S. Army Lt. Col. R. Alan King disarmed several potentially dangerous situations with a weapon few members of the Coalition Provisional Authority possessed: quotations from the Qur’ran.Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq begins as the first American forces in Iraq in April 2003. King’s civil affairs unit acted as liaison between the military, civil authorities, and the local population.

It was a job with extraordinary challenges – in the early days of the occupation, various Iraqi exiles returned to Baghdad to declare themselves mayor or sheriff, and tempers flared during the endless summer power outages. But King found success through bringing faith to the battlefield. He estimates that he met with over 3,000 sheiks, praying with them and asking for their help to rebuild Iraq. Those relationships earned him a reputation for fairness and respect for Islam that led several people on the “most-wanted” list to seek him out and surrender to him personally. He even met with Muhammad Saeedal-Sahaf, a.k.a. “Baghdad Bob”, the former Iraqi Minister of Information.

King also writes with pain at the memory of close friends who were killed in combat, both from his battalion and the Iraqis who worked with them, and he reflects with frustration on dealings with military bureaucracy and critical blunders that cost him some of that hard-earned trust.

R. Alan King was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor, two Bronze Stars for achievement, and the Combat Action Badge. He is an active reserve member of the U.S. Army, and returned from his most recent service in Iraq in October 2007. He has appeared on NBC, CNN, Fox News, and other networks as a military commentator.

Twice Armed won the 2008 Colby Award, which recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award has been presented annually by the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military college, since 1999.

Love My Rifle More Than You

Love My Rifle More Than You by Kayla Williams is about being a young female in the US Army and her deployment to Iraq for a year with the 101st Airborne.

Kayla Williams was an Arabic linguist. Thirty-four years ago, I came off active duty as an US Army officer. Ms. Williams’s book made me reflect back to all the women soldiers I worked with, lead, and knew.

This is a good military memoir. While grit and rough language are on almost every page, what shines through is an intelligent young woman serving her country and putting up with all a woman experiences in the military. It appears little has change since back in my day.

We learn of her role as an Arabic linguist. She tells us how she feels her skills could have been used better with direct contact with the population as oppose to routine intelligence gathering. Particularly interesting are her experiences with leadership while in Iraq as well as her questioning the war in Iraq’s day-to-day conduct without looking at the logic and underlying rationale.

On the light side – her tale of the birth control glasses is funny, but true. Put those military black framed Drew Carey or Woody Allen styled glasses on any man or woman and instantly they are effective birth control. Why? They make people unattractive thus scaring off members of the opposite sex. It is a book worth reading.

Source: http://www.keplersmilitaryhistorybookreviews.com/2008/06/love-my-rifle-more-than-you-by-kayla.html

Poem: War is Not Far

War is Not Fair

Do not mourn, soldier, for war is not fair.
A large IED is planted by the roadside.
It waits patiently for a Humvee or a Bradley.
Caring not who is inside or whose life will be destroyed.
It cares not that you are there as a volunteer trying to give them a better life.

Do not mourn, family, for war is not fair.
The IED by the roadside blows up the Humvee or Bradley.
Bits of metal, flesh, smoke, and stench fill the air.
The destruction rains not caring who is destroyed.
It cares not that it kills, cripples, breaks hearts, and destroys families.

Do not mourn, parents, for war is not fair.
The IED destroys the dreams you had for your children.
George W. Bush took us there and Barack H. Obama keeps us there.
Caring not who is serving or whose life is being destroyed.
The politics of war is most unkind.

© Jimmie A. Kepler 2009
Originally published in:
WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!