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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely impressed after being extremely skeptical
I bought this book for both the kindle and the paper back version. I Bought it because I was one of the Marines in 2nd plt Echo 2/3 during the deployment to Afghanistan and I participated in Operation Whalers and remember the tragedy of Red Wings first hand. Reading this book caused so many emotions because of the memories of the events that were taking place. But also...
Published 24 months ago by Slightlylessbulletproof

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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed Account but a Little Dry
I was looking for something like Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and this book was different; not told by the actual soldiers and marines but by a reporter; so it was told in the second person and thus lacked something in emotion and intensity. There was a lot of historical information about Afghanistan, Taliban, tactics, and command structure; interesting from an...
Published on March 24, 2010 by nalinirapture


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely impressed after being extremely skeptical, August 29, 2012
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I bought this book for both the kindle and the paper back version. I Bought it because I was one of the Marines in 2nd plt Echo 2/3 during the deployment to Afghanistan and I participated in Operation Whalers and remember the tragedy of Red Wings first hand. Reading this book caused so many emotions because of the memories of the events that were taking place. But also because of how much I learned about the situations that were going on. As a brand new 19 year old grunt I was kept out of the loop on a lot of things. from the reasons behind the failed extraction of SEAL Team 10, (which had every single 2/3 grunt pissed that we were sitting there unable to do anything)to Scene behind the mission plannings and execution of some of the hardest things I've ever accomplished in my life.

The only qualm that I have with this book is that Mr. Darak spent the whole Deployment with Fox company and although him being able to talk to grunts from Fox and get after action reports from them, I feel like the events of August 18th 2005 were just overlooked. CPL Cerinceon was the best squad leader I ever had the pleasure of knowing and LCPL George was an absolutely stellar Marine, Nothing could ever explain the shock we all felt that he was to be the one who gave his life that day. However the book did a little half page blurp on the battle of Taleban (the small village in which we were ambushed) and seemed like it was a freak shot that happened to hit George. However it didn't go into detail of How LCPL Gonzalez (who would be killed in Iraq a year later) and LCPL Torres danced around a rock trying to return fire and stay out of fire at the same time. (Torres got hit twice) and the ANA (afghan national army) commandos that died in that fight as well as their Commander being wounded. Also their are a few descrepencies of how the Ambush started. First of all the book says that there were two girls standing in the road, the reality is there were half a dozen children, boys and girls. none over the age of 11 or 12 if I had to make a guess. They were there as a distractoin to us. They were cheering us and smiling, we got distracted by them because we were handing them what little food and water we had left(we were only a short distance from the mouth of the Korengal and we didn't need them any more) we also handed them money and it made us extremely happy to see how well we were being recieved. However it took our attention off of the mountaintops and left us extremely vulnerable to attack. When the rounds started coming in one of the little girls tried to take cover next to the rock cliff we were trapped next to, CPL Cirencione instinctivly placed himself between her and the attackers he felt had the best chance of hitting her. There he stayed until the chos of Combat forced him to check on his Marines. Doc Auguon was the one who ran from the front of the platoon to the rear, down a completetly open road that was being riddled with bullets, to try his hardest to rescue George after helping save 3 ANA soldiers that were severely wounded. There Were many many other actions that this deserved the kind of attention that he gave the rest, I am not one of the Marines mentioned by me or Mr. Darak in the book and I don't care to be, and all of the Marines of 2/3 were faced with elements that we could never had trained for yet carried on regardless, never breaking in spirit. I guess no amount of pages could truly justify the sacrifices that The Military has made so far from home, I just felt that the Marines who suffered in the Korengal deserved a little more credit then what they got. Again my only qualm with this book was the short commings he gave Echo in their struggles for the 2 weeks in the mountiains of the Korengal in the 120+ degree weather culminating in a fight that would end the lives of a brother and mentor.

The entire book was really well done and I really appreciate the knowledge that I gained from a behind the scenes look at the operations however I feel like he cut the story short by not speaking to the Echo Marines who were in a desperate fight for close to an hour at the bottom of a ravine stuck between a river and a cliff while bullets and RPG's poured down on them.

-2/3 Echo "hardcore"
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one side never tells the whole story, and neither tells the whole truth, July 8, 2010
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Victory Point is a good compliment to Lone Survivor just like Roberts' Ridge is complimented by The Mission, The Men and Me. However, all sides of a story are formed with bias and perception that may or may not be the whole truth. This isn't necessarily bad or good, it's just the way things are. As a Marine, I appreciate the praise the author gives the Marine Corps and the Marines involved in the situations discussed in the book. I do think it was a little too much though. No one, and nothing (especially organizations) is as perfect as the author describes the Marine Corps in the book. The Marine Corps, like all organizations and society as a whole is made up of people. People who make mistakes and fail, people who do everything correct and fail, and people who make mistakes and even everything wrong and still succeed. The Marine Corps' plan to capture the bad guy was solid. Well, so was the plan developed by the other units mentioned in the text. Mistakes were made, things went wrong, and people lost their lives, but that is the way this stuff goes down. The only thing the Marines had over the other units was, their plan never got put into action (tested). If they put theirs into action and the other guys were sitting on the bench it could have very easily been a whole list of different mistakes, different things going wrong, and a different list of guys who didn't make it home. Then it would have been a book written by a different embedded journalist writing about how, if the Marines had just listened to the N.S.W. guys and done a helo insert of the recon element versus allowing them to walk in. I can't make a valid comment about mistakes and decisions and what not without hearing the, "why" they did what they did, which the book never covered for whatever reason.

Now with all that being said, this isn't the first time I have read, or heard about how convoluted the chain of command and communications in SOF can get. Not sure why that is, or if I could do any better if I were in that field, so I am not going to be too critical of it.

I am going to say this. Spec-ops units are very capable and can do a lot of great stuff, but I keep hearing and reading about these spec-ops missions that really aren't that "special." In law enforcement we have a thing called mission creep. That is when SWAT teams suit up and serve low risk misdemeanor warrants just because there are no high risk work for them to do, despite the fact that detectives and uniformed patrol officers could have, and should have done the job. The mission described in the text as well as in Lone Survivor sounds very conventional to me. The bad guy was described as a low value guy with not too much support or resources and only operated in a certain area of the war zone. The mission was pretty straight forward (conventional). It sounds like when other units (spec-ops) heard about it they wanted a piece of the pie since they had nothing else going on. I have seen this before while on a deployment to the middle east prior to 9-11. In a perfect world if a unit develops the info. and circumstances for a certain op and the op falls within that units mission capability, then that unit should get the mission, regardless of who the supporting assets come from.

Prior to MARSOC the Marine Corps use to pride itself on using conventional units for "special" missions. That is one major problem with the Army. There are units in that organization that get no love due to not being airborne this or ranger/special that. Some conventional missions for the Marine Corps are "special" missions for the other services. I believe the military's reliance on special units for non-special missions will result in more failures then victories. Sometimes you need a lot of guys with a lot of guns and a lot of bigger ORGANIC weapons to get something done. Special-ops are small and lite, most Army units are big and heavy. The Marine Corps and some Army units are medium and medium. These medium units should be getting these middle of the road missions and they should be allowed the resources, funding, and assets to accomplish them without begging other units and organizations, who in turn take their op.

All in all, good book, but try and develop your opinion like one of the characters develops good intelligence. With an open mind and from multiple, corroborating, and verifiable sources.

Semper Fi Marines, and God Speed to all those mentioned in this text who have made that journey.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Insight into Operations in Afghanistan, May 1, 2009
This review is from: Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan (Hardcover)
READ THIS BOOK! Mr Darack spent two months with 2/3 in Afghanistan in 2005. That time period was the genesis for the book. He spent a great deal of time interviewing the Marines and sailors and lived at Camp Blessing with the Marines, sailors, and Afghan Security Forces. The book was well reviewed by Bing West, Dalton Fury, and others. The battalion achieved victory not by technology dependent special operations that are so lionized by Hollywood and the press these days, but by time-tested boots-on-the-ground, small unit counterinsurgency tactics, tactics codified by the Marine Corps. Read it if you want an honest view of the challenges on the ground for a unit engaged in the COIN fight at the Edge of the Empire. Mr. Darack witnessed first hand the success of the batallion, and how it was achieved through working closely with locals, spending as much time outside the wire as possible, proving our intentions for a unified and pacified country, and of course, always being ready for the tough fight. VICTORY POINT brings the reader into all aspects of what it took to win a difficult counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, conveying the no-nonsense, classic, and time proven methods of this type of warfare, from the dividends yielded from passing out school supplies to children, to helping build roads and other infrastructure, to the necessity of undertaking a high intensity combat.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read Lone Survivor..., February 4, 2012
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Then you absolutely have to read Victory Point. Lone Survivor was a really good story, however, as others have noted, Victory Point fills in a lot of blanks and answers a multitude of questions: Why this operation came about, how it was planned, who they were after, and gives background on the regional history. You'll be surprised to learn what this book has to teach about Red Wings. There is much, much more to Operation Red Wings (Redwing) than I had known previously. Furthermore, after reading Victory Point, we learn that the United States Marine Corps ultimately took out Ahmad Shah's ragtag group of insurgents / Taliban, who ambushed the SEALs in Red Wings, in Operation Whalers--the culmination of efforts documented in Victory Point.
Modern military operations consist of large numbers of units from throughout the military, it is rarely just Marine Corps, or just Army. This book brings all of this into focus. Red Wings and Whalers were complex and very difficult missions, with many many lessons that hopefully will not be forgotten, ever.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, June 3, 2009
This review is from: Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan (Hardcover)
A great story about an exceptional group of Marines. It gives the reader a true sense of what it takes to be a Marine and a true account of the difficulties of modern day warfare. The author was very detailed and thorough in his research and accuracy of events. This should be required reading for all those that admire our service men and women and the great acts of courage they do for our freedom. A great read!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taken back in time, April 3, 2011
I am in the middle of this book because i actually just purchased it, but it won't be long before it's read completely!!! I was in Fox Co 2/3 in Afghanistan when all this happened; the SEALs, the elections, and a thousand other "crazy" things! It was an amazing experience and I really enjoy reading it through Ed Darack's eyes. I think he put it down in an honest and true way... just reading the first sentence of chapter 1 brought back memories of SSgt Crisp III and I felt like I could actually hear him. Of course I love the book because I'm proud to be a part of it, but I can promise you it's a great read. A big thank you to Mr. Darack for sticking it out in that terrain and environment to come back and tell you our stories. Highly reccomended and enjoy!!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!! Compelling story against an interesting background, April 12, 2009
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This review is from: Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan (Hardcover)
This is the story of an operstion the Marines performed in Afghanistan that allowed a successful and free election. It has a lot of history and background to set the stage and tells a compelling story that shows the good that the Marines were doing at that time in Afghanistan.

With everything that is still going on over there it was great to get some insight into it all. The story of these Marines is very compelling and I flew through this book.

I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decisive American victory, February 1, 2012
This is an awesome story, told in exciting detail. Ed Darack covers Red Wings, in great detail, and does it in a way that shows the heroics of all those involved, but without the unnecessary exaggeration seen elsewhere. I had no idea just how intense the ambush was, not due to numbers of enemy, but because just how the enemy surrounded the SEALs and the way they attacked them.
The book, unlike many out there, shows a decisive victory by U.S. forces at war in the harsh, historically storied mountains of Afghanistan. I felt good reading this book, genuinely good. It also made me pain for all of those involved, in that you realize just how incredibly harsh this place is, and just how grueling war can be.
Operation Whalers was a success, we need to hear more about it. It was just an awesome effort by a great group of Americans, in all services. There is a lot of detail, but learning about how Operation Whalers went off as a victory was a thrill.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The incredible, untold story, January 23, 2012
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SK (Phoenix, Arizona) - See all my reviews
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Victory Point goes into great detail about the reason, the planning, and the execution of Operation Red Wings (Redwing). It even reveals the reason for the name. The author includes a lot of historical detail for background, and at times trying to understand the command lines can be tough, but the way it was presented showed it to be convoluted, which is in part why things went bad during Red Wings. Very pro Marine Corps, but also pro Navy SEAL as well as pro Army (especially the helicopter pilots). Victory Point also goes into great detail on Operation Whalers--where the Marines take down Ahmad Shah's army.
There are other books on Red Wings, and none on Whalers. There are different accounts of Red Wings, but in my opinion none lays it out in as even headed, straight forward manner as Victory Point.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly engaging, August 3, 2010
As a Marine I was engrossed from the begining. What I really enjoyed, and some may have trouble with this, was the history that the author added at several key points in the opening chapters. Many people think they know the history of Afghanistan from popular accounts, such as Charlie Wilson's War, while entertaining it left a lot to be desired. Victory Point fills the gaps, as much as is neccessary to tell the story well, and he does. Also as a sniper who has worked for and with a few of the main persons, I can say that the accounts are very accurate. The theatre level command descriptions and their following confusion are very real pitfalls to the modern Marine, sailor and soldier. Over all I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what is happening in their world, military and civilian alike.
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