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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

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

". . . fascinating and worthwile book for military professionals, strategists, historians, and interested civilians." -Military Review
(Military Review 2008-05-01) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

STEVE CALL is an assistant professor at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York, teaching both American and military history. During his twenty-year career in the air force, Call held many command and staff positions, including liaison officer with the army, Pentagon staff officer, and squadron commander. His PhD in military history is from Ohio State University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series (Book 113)
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603441425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603441421
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anthony Knutson on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a member of our USAF and knowing several TACP Airmen, this book really put into light what exactly TACP's really are. So many people forget about how Air on Armour happens and its about time the ROMADS get the credit they rightfully deserve.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Crew Chief KC-135's in the AF, I have experianced the "rear" side of war operations. Reading how all of it was tied into a lot of these operations is just amazing! This book, in my opinion, is well written and should be read by anyone interested in the TACP community. If you were thinking about becoming one(as I have) then this book will make you want to do a PAST and give it a try ASAP. Awesome job Sir, well done!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Call collected excellent primary source/primary actor interviews for this look at the role of Tactical Air Controllers. Coordinating between ground troops and close air support has been a thorny issue since the airplane was added to the military inventory. This book explains recent innovations at the battalion and under level, highlighting the professionalism of enlisted personnel as significant force multipliers. While members of the Air Force, they live "in the mud" with the troops on the ground, integrated with Army special forces or armored units.

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.
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By Chazster on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is really a great book, hard to put down at times. You can see the battles through the eyes of the people that were there. You also get their perspective as well as the importance of the techniques that they are using, and in some cases developing for the first time. This is a must have for anyone interested in knowing the real story behind the overwhelming success in the initial days of Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Danger Close" is a straightforward and clear look at the work of (largely) USAF Joint Terminal Air Controllers in the opening phases of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. The author describes the day-to-day work of USAF enlisted controllers embedded with US SF and conventional manoeuvre forces as well as some of the wider organisational and conceptual challenges that impeded Close Air Support (CAS) development in the 1990's and in the opening phases of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an exellent look into an Air Force most Airmen do not even know about. The book was well written and provides a look at how all of those bombs fall on time on target.

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.
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By Dave on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Danger Close fascinates not only the reader with accounts of the early stages of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but provides insight for the controller alike. The men who lead the charge into both Wars as ETACs or ALOs provided valuable learning points and knowledge on how to conduct close air support. Reading it beforehand, all that the book held was exiting stories about battle with lots of "boring" or informative parts. Now, the value is tenfold: JTACs are not only able to learn tactics, but see trouble shooting done at the most paramount of times. Until another book is written on the subject, this is the definitive work of all things TACP, JTAC, CAS, and ALO.
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