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Danger Close: Tactical Air Controllers in Afghanistan and Iraq (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series) Paperback – January 15, 2010
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Call makes the common-sense argument that neither air power nor "boots on the ground" win wars, but rather a seamless integration of the two. He uses the experiences of the TACPs on the ground during the initial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to buttress his argument. Short discussions at the beginning and end of the book sum up his points nicely.
I only have a few complaints about this book. While it wasn't a problem for me, the military acronyms come fast and heavy. Readers with less experience reading military documents might struggle at times to understand what is being discussed. The glossary at the end of the book is a big help and should be marked by Kindle users. Secondly, I would have liked to see a further examination of airpower uses in the aftermath of the initial invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. As the Afghan war in particular has entered its tenth year, I would like to hear if the tactics outlined here have changed. Finally, while it was no problem for me, I could understand if some would call this book "war porn" for all the descriptions of large-scale slaughter of opposing forces. My response would be "it's war, that's what happens, and it's hell. Deal."
Overall, this is a good close examination of recent developments in close air support integration. Worth a read by anyone associated with the military or modern military history.
Writing very much from the perspective of the US ALO/TACP community, the author explains the lack of institutional interest in CAS by the USAF (and to a slightly lesser extent, the US Army) prior to 9/11 led to neither service being well prepared to integrate CAS with tactical manoeuvre. His description of organisational, doctrinal and procedural innovations between the start of OEF and the fall of Baghdad is clear and insightful (perhaps less so for the reader without a military background). At the tactical level, his first-hand accounts of the efficiency and effectiveness of US enlisted controllers in both operations demonstrate the fallacy of the old perception that JTACs needed to be both pilots and officers to be safe and effective.
A limitation of the book is that it is written very much from an airman's perspective and is to a large degree focused on telling the stories of the guys at the coal face. Although the author is not a rabid USAF partisan (he is open and forthcoming about USAF institutional shortcomings) his perspective is very much that of an airman and his interest is the relatively narrow one (albeit somewhat important) of getting weapons from aircraft onto targets.Read more ›
The TACP's are smart, dedicated, Airmen that find ways to get air cover over our ground forces and save counless lives. More books like Danger Close need to be written about our forces that show the heroes that our men really are.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With a son-in-law looking to enter this field, the narrative was really informative and enlightening. It is nice to read the behind the scenes stories of the various campaigns.Published 3 months ago by Bishopdunn
Well written and detailed account of JTAC's doing JTAC stuff. The flow was excellent and I enjoyed getting a bit of background into everything.Published 4 months ago by Matthew
Very good for those of us who have been there. A bit wordy and technical for people who are not military minded. Glad to see it written. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Night Hawk
This is an amazing book and you should buy it. Seriously, you will like it a lot. It covers the amazing and bad ass engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rich
Every JTAC needs to read this. Every non JTAC needs to read this as well.Published 14 months ago by Anon